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The  complete  works  of  Thomasj 



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W.  LINDSAY  ALEXANDER,  D.D.,  Professor  of  Theology,  Cbngregatioual 
Union,  Edinburgh. 

JAMES  BEGG,  D.D.,  Minister  of  Kewington  Free  Church,  Edinburgh. 

THOMAS  J.  CRAWFORD,  D.D.,  S.T.P.,  Professor  of  Divinity,   University, 

D.  T.  K.  DRUMMOXD,  M.A.,  Minister  of  St  Thomas's  Episcopal  Church, 

WILLIAM  H.  GOOLD,  D.D.,  Professor  of  Biblical  Literature  and  Church 
History,  Reformed  Presbyterian  Church,  Edinburgh. 

ANDREW  THOMSON,  D.D.,  Minister  of  Broughton  Place  United  Presby- 
terian Church,  Edinburgh. 

REV.  THOMAS  SMITH,  D.D.,  Edinburgh. 










Sermons  upon  1  John  iii. — continued.  page 

Sermon  XIX.  "  Marvel  not,  my  brethren,  if  the  world 

hate  you,"        .  .  .  '   .         102 

XX.  ''  We  know  that  we  have  passed  from  death 
unto  life,  because  we  love  the  brethren  : 
he  that  loveth  not  his  brother  abideth 
in  death,"         .  .  .  .113 

XXI.  "  Whosoever  hateth  his  brother  is  a  mur- 
derer ;  and  ye  know  that  no  murderer 
hath  eternal  life  abiding  in  him,"  .  123 
XXII.  "  Hereby  perceive  we  the  love  of  God, 
because  he  laid  down  his  life  for  us  : 
and  we  ought  to  lay  down  our  lives 
for  the  brethren,"         .  .  .133 

XXIII.  "  But  whoso  hath  this  world's  goods,  and 

seeth  his  brother  have  need,  and 
shutteth  up  his  bowels  of  compassion 
from  him,  how  dwelleth  the  love  of 
God  in  him  1  My  little  children,  let 
us  not  love  in  word,  neither  in  tongue ; 
but  in  deed  and  in  truth,"       .  .         144 

XXIV.  "  And  hereby  we  know  that  we  are  of  the 

truth,  and  shall  assure  our  hearts 
before  him,"     .  .  .  .154 

XXV.  "  For  if  our  heart  condemn  us,  God  is 
greater  than  our  heart,  and  knoweth 
all  things,"       .  .  .  .165 

XXVI.  "  And  knoweth  all  things,"  .  .         174 

XXVII.  "  Beloved,  if  our  heart  condemn  us  not, 

then  have  we  confidence  towards  God,"         184 
XXVIII.  "  And  Avhatsoever  we  ask,  we  receive  of 
him,  because  we  keep  his  command- 
ments, and  do  those  things  that  are 
pleasing  in  his- sight,"  .  .  .         192 

XXIX.  "  Because  we  keep  his  commandments,  and 
do  those  things  that  are  pleasing  in  his 
sight,"  .  .  .  .201 

XXX.  "  And  this  is  his  commandment,  that  we 
should  believe  in  the  name  of  his  Son, 
and  love  one  another  as  he  gave  us 
commandment,"  .  .  .         210 

XXXI.  "  And  he  tliat  keepeth  his  commandments 
dwelleth  in  him,  and  he  in  him  :  and 
hereby  know  we  that  he  abideth  in  us, 
by  his  Spirit  which  he  hath  given  to  us,"  219 


Sermons  upon  1  John  iii. — continued.  paoe 

Sermon  XXXII.  "  And  we  know  that  lie  abidetli  in  us,  by 

his  Spirit  which  he  hath  given  us,"       .         227 
Sermons  upon  Acts  ii.  37,  38 — 

Sermon  I.  "  Now  when  they  heard  this,  were  pricked 
in  their  hearts,  and  said  unto  Peter  and 
the  rest  of  the  apostles,  Men  and  bre- 
thren, what  shall  we  do  ? "         .  .         237 

II.  "Now  when  they  heard  this,"  kc,  .  .         247 

III,  "  And  they  said  unto  Peter  and  the  rest  of 

the  apostles.  Men  and  brethren,  what 

shall  we  do  ?"   .  .  .  .         254 

IV.  "Then  Peter  said  unto  them,  Eepent,  and 

be  baptized  every  one  of  you  in  the 
name  of  Jesus  Christ  for  the  remission 
of  sins,  and  ye  shall  receive  the  gifts 
of  the  Holy  Ghost,"      .  .  .262 

V.  "  Eepent,  and  be  baptized  in  the  name  of 

Jesus  Christ,"    .  .  .  .271 

VI.  "  Be  baptized  every  one  of  you  in  the  name 
of  Jesus  Christ   for  the  remission   of 
sins,"     .....         279 
VII.  "  And  ye  shall  receive  the  gifts  of  the  Holy 

Ghost,"  .  .  .  .288 

Sermons  upon  1  Peter  i.  23 — 

Sermon  I.  "Being  born  again,  not  of  corruptible  seed, 

but   of  incorruptible,    by  the  word  of 

God,    which    liveth    and    abideth    for 

ever,"    .....         299 

II.  "Being  born  again,  not  of  corruptible  seed, 

but  of  incorruptible,"     .  .  .         308 

III.  "  Being  born  again,  not  of  corruptible  seed, 

but  of  incorruptible,"    .  .  .         315 

IV.  "By   the  word  of  God,  which  liveth  and 

abideth  for  ever,"  .  ,  .         326 

Sermons  upon  Psalm  xix.  13 — 

Sermon  I.  "  Keep  back  thy  servant  also  from  pre- 
sumptuous sins ;  let  them  not  have 
dominion  over  me :  then  shall  I  be 
upright,  and  I  shall  be  innocent  from 
the  great  transgressions,"  .  .         337 

II.  "  Keep  back  thy  servant  from  presumptuous 

sins,"    .....         346 

III,  "  Keep  back  thy  servant  from  presumptuous 

sins,"     .....         356 


Sermons  upon  Psalm  xix.  13 — continued. 

Sermon  IV.  "  Let  them  not  have  dominion  over  me," 
V.  "  Then  shall  I  be  upright," 

VI.  "  And  innocent  from  the  great  transgressions,"  . 
Sermons  upon  Psalm  cxxxi — 

Sermon  I.  "  Lord,  my  heart  is  not  haughty,  nor  my  eyes 
lofty ;  neither  do  I  exercise  myself  in  great 
matters,  nor  in  things  too  high  for  me," 
II.  "  Lord,  my  heart  is  not  haughty," 

III.  "  Neither  do  I  exercise  myself  in  great  matters, 

nor -in  things  too  high  for  me," 

IV.  "  Surely  I  have  behaved  and  quieted  myself,  as 

a  child  that  is  weaned  of  his  mother;  my 
soul  is  even  as  a  weaned  child," 
V.  "  Let  Israel  hope  in  the  Lord  from  henceforth 
and  for  ever,"  .... 

Sermons  upon  Ezekiel  xviii.  23 — 

Sermon  I.  "  Have  I  any  pleasure  at  all  that  the  wicked 
should  die  1  saith  the  Lord  God ;  and  not 
that  he  should  return  from  his  ways,  and 
live  1."  . 

II.  '*  Have  I  any  pleasure  at   all  that  the  wicked 
should  die  ? " 
Sermon  upon  Jeremiah  xlv.  5,  . 







And  ye  hnoio  that  he  ivas  manifested  to  take  avjay  sin,  and  in  him 
loas  no  sin. — 1  John  iii.  5. 

The  apostle  still  pnrsueth  his  scope  and  purpose,  which  is  to  persuade 
christians  to  take  heed  of  sin,  and  living  in  sin.     He  argueth — 

1.  From  our  adoption,  and  how  much  that  inferreth  a  likeness  to 
God  whose  children  we  are. 

2.  With  respect  to  the  law,  or  the  orders  of  God's  family,  not  to 
forfeit  the  offered  privilege. 

3.  With  respect  to  Christ,  he  urgeth  two  things — (1.)  The  holiness 
of  his  design  ;  (2.)  The  innocency  of  his  person.  Both  which  dissuade 
us  from  living  in  sin.  That  which  Christ  came  to  destroy,  and  that 
which  maketh  us  so  unlike  Christ,  should  not  be  allowed  by  christians  : 

*  And  ye  know  that  he  was  manifested  to  take  away  sin.' 

1.  In  the  first  argument  redemption  by  Christ  is  propounded — 
[1.]   As  an  evident  truth.     The  sin  and  misery  of  the  whole  world 

was  such,  tliat  it  groaned  for  a  saviour.  Sin  was  the  mortal  disease 
that  we  were  all  sick  of ;  then  came  the  spiritual  physician  to  take  it 
away.  The  common  necessity  of  mankind  showed  the  misery,  and 
the  common  light  of  Christianity  showed  the  remedy. 

[2.]  It  is  propounded  as  his  great  end  and  scope  why  he  was  mani- 
fested. Christ  is  manifested  two  ways — in  the  gospel  and  in  the  flesh. 
In  the  gospel :  Titus  ii.  11,  *  The  grace  of  God  that  bringeth  salvation 
hath  appeared  to  all  men  ; '  1  Peter  i.  20,  '  But  was  manifest  in  these 
last  times  for  you,'  Now  the  gospel  showeth  he  came  to  take  away 
sin  :  1  Tim.  i.  15,  '  This  is  a  true  and  faithful  saying,  that  Jesus  Christ 
came  to  take  away  sin.'  But  here  manifested  in  the  flesh  :  1  Tim.  iii. 
16, '  Great  is  the  mystery  of  godliness,  God  was  manifested  in  the  flesh  ; ' 
and  1  John  i.  2, '  The  life  was  manifested,  and  we  have  seen  it.'  Christ, 
who  heretofore  lay  hid  in  the  bosom  of  God,  now  appeared,  and  was 
discovered  to  the  world  as  his  only-begotten  Son. 

2.  In  the  second  argument  the  innocency  of  Christ  is  propounded  : 

*  In  him  was  no  sin.'     This  clause  may  be  added — 

[1.]  To  show  the  value  of  his  sacrifice,  having  no  sin  of  his  own  to 

4  •  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  Ilf.  [SkR.  VIII. 

expiate  :  '  For  such  a  high  priest  became  ns,  who  is  holy,  harmless, 
iiudefilecl,  and  separate  from  sinners  ; '  who  needeth  not  daily,  as  those 
higli  priests,  to  offer  up  sacrifice,  first  for  their  own  sins,  and  then  for 
the  people's. 

[2.J  To  show  the  greatness  of  his  love :  '  He  made  him  who  knew 
no  sin  to  be  sin  for  us,  that  we  might  be  made  the  righteousness  of 
God  in  him.' 

[3.]  To  show  that  while  we  live  in  sin  we  can  have  no  commerce 
and  communion  with  him,  his  nature  being  so  opposite  to  sin;  for 
what  communion  is  there  between  light  and  darkness,  Christ  and 

[4]  To  set  him  forth  for  an  example  and  pattern  to  us,  which  is 
chiefly  to  be  regarded.  To  imitate  Christ  we  must  abstain  from  sin, 
be  holy  as  he  is  holy,  and  pure  as  he  is  pure. 

Doct.  That  those  who  are  partakers  of  Christ  should  by  no  means 
allow  themselves  in  a  life  or  course  of  sin. 

I  shall  prove  it  by  the  two  arguments  of  the  text :  that  we  must 
not  continue  in  sin,  because  Christ  came  to  take  away  sin,  and  had  no 
sin  in  himself  Christ  is  here  propounded,  first,  as  our  ransom ;  secondly, 
as  our  pattern.  In  each  I  shall  open  the  expressions  used,  and  then 
consider  the  force  of  the  argument. 

I.  As  a  ransom,  '  Ye  know  that  he  was  manifested  to  take  away  sin.' 
There  are  three  things  must  be  opened — (1.)  In  what  sense  Christ  is 
said  to  take  away  sin  ;  (2.)  By  what  means  he  doth  accomplish  it ;  (3.) 
How  is  this  a  binding  argument. 

First,  In  what  sense  Christ  is  said  to  take  away  sin.  Sin  is  consi- 
derable either  as  to  the  guilt  of  it,  or  the  power,  life,  and  reign  of  it. 

1.  The  guilt  is  taken  away  when  the  obligation  to  punishment  is 
dissolved,  and  we  are  freed  from  wrath  to  come  ;  which  is  one  great 
benefit  we  have  by  our  Lord  Jesus  ;  1  Thes.  i.  10,  '  Which  delivered 
us  from  the  wrath  to  come.'  This  is  done  by  a  pardon,  which  relateth 
to  sin  :  Eph.  i.  7,  '  In  whom  we  have  redemption  through  his  blood, 
the  forgiveness  of  sin.'  And  by  justification,  which  relateth  to  the 
person  :  Rom.  v.  1,  2,  '  Therefore  being  justified  by  faith,  we  have  peace 
with  God,  through  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  by  whom  also  we  have  access 
by  faith  into  this  grace  wherein  we  stand,  and  rejoice  in  hope  of  the 
glory  of  God.'  By  sanctification,  when  the  power  and  reign  of  it  is 
broken  :  1  Cor.  vi.  11,  '  But  ye  are  justified,  but  ye  are  sanctified,  in 
the  name  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  and  by  the  Spirit  of  our  God.'  So  that  as 
Christ  came  to  take  away  the  guilt  of  sin,  so  also  the  stain  of  it.  He 
was  manifested  to  subdue  our  love  and  delight  in  sin,  and  to  turn  our 
hearts  towards  God.  We  need  a  saviour  to  help  us  to  repentance  as 
well  as  to  pardon.  The  loss  of  God's  image  was  a  part  of  our  punish- 
ment ;  and  the  renovation  of  our  natures  is  a  sure,  yea,  a  principal  part 
of  our  deliverance  by  Christ.  Now  if  you  ask  me.  Which  of  these 
benefits  goeth  first  ?  I  answer — He  regenerateth  us  that  he  may 
pardon  us ;  for  justified  we  are  not  till  we  believe,  and  pardoned  we 
are  not  till  we  repent,  which  are  acts  of  the  new  nature.  And  the 
scripture  in  many  places  setteth  forth  this  order ;  I  shall  only  allege 
one  now :  Titus  iii.  5-7,  '  Not  by  works  of  righteousness,  which  we 
have  done,  but  according  to  his  mercy  he  saved  us,  by  the  washing  of 

VeR.  5.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHNT  III.  5 

regeneration^  and  the  renewing  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  which  he  hath  shed 
on  us  ahiindantly,  through  Jesus  Christ  our  Saviour  ;  that  heing  justi- 
fied by  his  grace,  we  should  be  made  heirs  according  to  the  ho^^e  of 
eternal  life.' 

Secondly,  By  what  means  he  doth  accomplish  it,  Tliis  must  be 
considered  both  as  to  impetration  and  application.  As  to  purchase  and 
impetration,  so  it  relateth  to  his  own  merit.  As  to  application  to  us, 
and  our  reception  of  this  double  benefit,  so  it  is  done  by  convenient 

1.  As  to  the  impetration,  and  meritorious  purchase,  that  is  done  : 
Christ  takes  away  sin  by  bearing  it  in  his  own  person.  The  word  in 
the  text,  and  those  which  are  commonly  used  in  this  matter,  signify 
both  to  take  away  and  carry  away  sin  :  John  i.  29, '  Behold  the  Lamb 
of  God,  which  taketh  away,'  or  beareth  away,  '  the  sins  of  the  world ; ' 
and  Isa.  liii.  6, '  The  Lord  laid  on  him  the  iniquities  of  us  all.'  I  know 
there  is  some  difficulty  in  explaining  how  sin  was  laid  upon  Christ,  or 
what  of  sin  it  was  that  he  took  upon  himself,  that  he  might  take  it  off 
from  us.  There  are  in  sin  four  things — culpa,  macula,  reahis,  andjjce/ja. 
Not  the  fault,  or  criminal  action,  for  that  is  committed  by  us,  and  can- 
not be  transferred  upon  another.  Not  the  stain  ;  for  Christ  was  holy 
and  undefiled,  and  that  implieth  sin  inherent.  Not  the  guilt ;  for  that 
is  such  an  obh'gation  to  punishment  as  doth  arise  from  the  merit  of 
some  criminal  action  done  by  the  party  himself.  It  is  true  there  was 
an  obligation  on  Christ  to  suffer,  and  make  satisfaction  to  his  Father's 
justice  ;  but  this  was  by  a  voluntary  susception,  or  an  act  of  gracious 
condescension,  not  imposed  upon  him  by  constraint,  without  his  consent, 
or  against  his  will ;  none  of  this  was  due  to  him  upon  his  own  account. 
Punishment  is  a  debt  which  lieth  upon  us,  and  is  imposed  upon  us 
against  our  will  ;  but  Christ  voluntarily  submitted  to  bear  the  sins  of 
many,  Isa.  liii.  12  ;  and  therefore  he  is  said  '  to  be  made  sin  for  us,'  2 
Cor.  v.  21.  Sin  there  signifieth  a  punishment  of  sin,  and  also  a  sacri- 
fice for  sin,  a  sin-offering.  Sometimes  it  signifieth  a  punishment :  '  My 
sin  is  greater  than  can  be  borne  ; '  that  is,  the  punishment  of  my  sin, 
Gen.  iv.  13  ;  and  ver.  7,  'Sin  lieth  at  the  door  ; '  that  is,  punishment 
is  at  hand,  or  a  sin-offering,  or  a  sacrifice  for  sin.  So  the  priests  are 
said  to  eat  the  sins  of  the  people,  Hosea  iv.  8  ;  they  took  care  of  nothing 
but  to  glut  themselves  with  the  portion  of  the  sacrifices.  So  Kom, 
viii.  3,  '  By  sin  he  condemned  sin  in  the  flesh  ; '  and  he  is  said  to  have 
'  borne  our  griefs  and  carried  our  sorrows  ; '  that  is,  to  bear  the  punish- 
ment. And  lie  is  said  '  to  bear  our  sins  in  his  own  body  upon  the 
tree,'  1  Peter  ii.  24,  that  is,  to  die  and  suffer  for  them.  This  is  the 
way  and  means  by  which  Clirist  taketh  away  sin  ;  and  this  is  done  so 
effectually  once  for  all,  that  there  needeth  no  repeating  of  it :  Heb.  x. 
14,  '  By  one  offering  he  hath  perfected  for  ever  them  that  are  sancti- 
fied.' As  to  the  merit,  there  is  nothing  wanting  ;  no  other  merit  and 
sacrifice  needeth  to  be  offered  to  God. 

2.  As  to  the  application,  it  is  usually  said  that  he  taketh  away  the 
guilt  of  sin  by  his  blood,  and  the  filth  of  sin  by  his  Spirit.  But  this  is 
not  so  truly  and  accurately  said  ;  for  his  blood  cleanseth  us  both  from 
the  guilt  and  stain  of  sin:  1  John  i.  7,  'And  the  blood  of  Christ 
cleanseth  us  from  all  sin  :    and  Rev.  i.  5,  '  Who  hath  loved  us,  and 


washed  us  in  his  blood ; '  which  relateth  to  the  double  washing 
mentioned,  1  Cor.  vi.  11.  Both  are  the  fruit  of  his  death,  by  which 
lie  merited  both  remission  and  sanctification  for  us ;  and  in  the 
phrase  of  the  text,  'he  beareth  it  away.'  This  double  benefit  is  made 
the  fruit  of  both.  Justification  is  a  fruit  of  his  bearing  sin :  Isa.  liii.  11, 
'By  his  knowledge  shall  my  righteous  servant  justify  many,  for  he 
shall  bear  their  iniquities.'  To  bear  the  sin  is  to  bear  the  punishment, 
the  curse  or  wrath  due  to  it.  Now  Christ  beareth  it  so  that  it  is 
taken  from  us.  So  sanctification  is  a  fruit  also  of  his  bearing  our 
iniquities  :  1  Peter  i.  24,  '  He  bore  our  sins  in  his  own  body  on  the 
tree,  that  we  being  dead  unto  sin,  may  be  alive  unto  righteousness.* 
Christ  came  to  heal  our  souls,  to  kill  this  lovo  unto  sin  and  delight  in 
it.  Therefore  sanctification  is  the  fruit  of  his  cross  as  well  as  justifica- 
tion, and  we  must  not  so  sever  these  benefits  as  that  one  should  be 
given  us  by  Christ,  and  the  other  by  the  Spirit.  No ;  both  are  given 
us  by  Christ,  but  differently  applied ;  first  the  pardon  of  sins  by  his 
word  and  new  covenant,  which  is  an  act  of  oblivion,  charter,  or  grant, 
whereby,  upon  certain  terms,  he  maketh  over  this  benefit  to  those  who 
accept  of  it,  '  even  to  as  many  as  repent  and  believe  in  his  name.' 
They  are  constituted  just  by  the  new  covenant,  which  Christ  will 
ratify  and  confirm  by  his  own  sentence  at  the  day  of  judgment:  Acts 
iii.  19,  'Kepent  and  be  baptized,  that  j^our  sins  may  be  blotted  out, 
when  the  days  of  refreshment  shall  come  from  the  presence  of  the 
Lord.'  When  our  pardon  shall  be  pronounced  by  the  judge's  own 
mouth,  then  is  the  solemn  condemning  and  justifying  time.  But  for 
the  present,  by  the  gospel  charter,  sin  is  taken  away  as  to  the  guilt  as 
soon  as  we  repent  and  believe  :  Acts  x.  43,  '  Through  his  name,  who- 
soever believeth  in  him  shall  receive  remission  of  sins;'  and  Acts  xix. 
39,  '  By  him  all  that  believe  are  justified  from  all  things,  from  which 
they  could  not  be  justified  by  the  law  of  Moses.'  Secondly,  sanctification 
is  wrought  in  us  by  the  Spirit  of  Christ  more  and  more,  taking  away 
sin,  and  weakening  the  love  of  it  in  our  hearts ;  for  the  inner  man  is 
renewed  day  by  day,  and  the  cleansing  and  sanctifying  work  is 
perfected  by  degrees:  2  Cor.  vii.  1,  'Having  therefore  these  precious 
promises,  let  us  cleanse  ourselves  from  all  filthiness  both  of  flesh  and 
spirit,  perfecting  holiness  in  the  fear  of  God  ; '  even  until  sin  be  wholly 
gone ;  and  this  the  Spirit  efi'ecteth  by  the  duties  and  ordinances 
appointed  to  this  very  end.  But  the  deadly  blow  is  already  given : 
Rom.  vi.  6,  '  Knowing  this,  that  oui'  old  man  is  crucified  with  him, 
that  the  body  of  sin  might  be  destroyed,  that  henceforth  we  should  not 
serve  sin.' 

Thirdly,  Now  I  must  come  to  the  force  of  the  argument.  If  Christ 
came  to  take  away  sin,  then  we  should  take  care  we  do  not  live  in  sin. 

1.  This  is  expressly  to  contradict  and  frustrate  the  designed  end  of 
our  Redeemer,  and  so  to  put  him  to  shame,  and  to  make  his  coming 
into  the  world  in  vain ;  for  you  seek  to  cherish  that  which  he  came 
to  destroy.  He  would  dissolve,  untie,  and  loose  those  cords,  and  you 
knit  them  the  faster,  and  so  make  void  his  undertaking.  That  this 
was  the  great  end  and  scope  of  Christ's  coming  into  the  world,  or 
being  manifested  in  the  flesh,  is  evident  everywhere  in  scripture  : 
John  i.  29,  '  Behold  the  Lamb  of  God,  which  taketh  away  the  sins 

VeR.  5.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  7 

of  the  world.'  .  All  the  lambs  which  were  offered  to  God  ia  sacrifice 
were  to  take  away  sin ;  and  this  is  the  Lamb  of  God,  that  is,  the  true 
and  real  substance  of  all  these  figures.  Now  whether  the  allusion  is 
to  the  lamb  of  the  daily  sacrifice,  or  the  passover  lamb,  it  is  all  one ; 
the  use  for  which  he  serveth  is  to  expiate  sin  and  abolish  sin,  and  to 
bind  men  to  God  in  a  firmer  tie  of  obedience.  So  Mat.  i.  21,  '  His 
name  shall  be  called  Jesus,  for  he  shall  save  his  people  from  their 
sins.'  Not  to  ease  them  of  their  troubles  only,  but  chiefly  to  destroy 
sin,  with  the  mischievous  effects  of  it.  Not  to  save  them  in  their  sins, 
but  to  save  them  from  their  sins  :  Titus  ii.  14,  *  He  hath  redeemed  us 
fiom  all  iniquity.'  Not  only  from  the  curse  of  the  law,  but  from 
iniquity:  Acts  iii.  26, .'God  hath  raised  up  his  Son  Jesus,  and  sent 
liim  to  bless  you,  in  turning  every  one  of  you  from  your  iniquities.' 
Not  from  the  Roman  yoke,  but  from  sin,  which  was  a  worse  thraldom 
and  captivity  :  Eom.  xi.  26,  '  There  shall  come  out  of  Zion  the  Deli- 
verer, and  shall  turn  away  ungodliness  from  Jacob.'  Well,  then,  this 
being  Christ's  end,  to  sanctify  us  and  free  us  from  sin,  we  should  not  go 
about  to  disappoint  him,  for  this  is  to  set  ourselves  directly  against 

2.  This  is  to  slight  the  price  of  our  redemption ;  for  since  with  so 
much  cost  this  work  of  taking  away  sin  is  carried  on,  for  you  to  be 
indifferent  whether  sin  be  taken  away  or  no  is  to  disvalue  and  put  a 
slight  on  the  wisdom  of  God,  and  the  wonderful  condescension  of  his 
love  in  Christ,  as  if  so  much  ado  were  made  about  a  matter  of  nothing. 
This  argument  is  urged  by  the  apostle :  1  Peter  i.  18,  19,  '  Foras- 
much as  ye  know  that  ye  were  not  redeemed  with  corruptible  things, 
as  silver  and  gold,  from  your  vain  conversation  received  by  tradition 
from  your  fathers,  but  with  the  precious  blood  of  Christ,  as  of  a  lamb 
without  spot  and  blemish.'  To  enhance  the  benefit,  the  greatness  of 
the  price  is  mentioned.  Spiritual  privileges,  such  as  freedom  from 
sin,  should  be  more  regarded  by  us,  because  they  are  so  dearly  bought. 
We  many  times  neglect  them  for  trifles,  forfeit  them  for  trifles,  lose 
that  for  gold  and  silver  which  cannot  be  bought  for  gold  and  silver. 
They  that  slight  anything  bought  by  Christ's  blood  are  accounted  in 
scripture  to  slight  the  blood  of  Christ  itself;  as  the  apostate  who 
revolteth  from  Christ  for  the  honours,  pleasures,  and  profits  of  the 
world  is  said  to  'trample  his  blood  under  foot,  and  to  account  it  a 
common  thing ; '  as  suppose  of  a  malefactor,  or  any  common  sufferer. 
Our  respect  to  Christ's  blood  is  judged  according  to  the  respect  we 
have  to  the  benefits  purchased  thereby.  As,  to  instance  in  these  two 
great  benefits,  the  favour  of  God  and  the  image  of  God.  He  that 
despiseth  the  favour  of  God,  and  doth  not  make  it  his  business  to  get 
it  and  keep  it,  but  preferreth  corruptible  things  before  it,  hath  no 
esteem  of  Christ's  merit,  and  the  great  cost  God  hath  been  at  in 
sending  his  own  Son  to  take  away  sin,  and  recover  a  lost  world  into 
his  grace  and  favour.  So  whosoever  doth  not  esteem  the  image  of 
God,  which  standeth  in  righteousness  and  true  holiness,  doth  not 
esteem  the  blood  of  Christ,  but  hath  lessening  thoughts  of  the  mystery 
of  his  incarnation  and  passion,  as  if  his  blood  were  shed  for  trifles. 

3.  It  is  in  effect  to  renounce  all  benefit  by  Christ ;  for  this  way  he 
saveth  us,  by  taking  away  sin.     The  scripture  everywhere  insists  upon 


redemption  from  sin  as  the  only  way  to  redemption  from  the  curse. 
Sin  brought  in  tlie  curse,  therefore  Christ  would  go  to  the  bottom  and 
fountain-head,  and  cure  us  of  sin,  that  he  might  take  off  the  curse,  and 
cure  us  :  he  doth  it  not  only  by  the  remission  of  sin,  but  by  sanctifying 
and  healing  our  natures.  You  seek  but  a  half  cure  if  you  seek  pardon 
'■only.  You  neglect  and  despise  the  chiefest  part  of  his  work;  yea,  you 
cannot  have  pardon  unless  you  be  sanctified;  and  so  in  effect  you  have 
no  benefit  by  Christ  at  all.     For  this  let  me  give  you  these  reasons — 

[1.]  Sin  is  the  great  makebate  between  God  and  his  creatures.  The 
first  breach  was  by  sin,  and  still  it  continueth  the  distance  :  Isa.  lix.  2, 
'  Your  iniquities  have  separated  between  me  and  you.'  Therefore,  till 
that  be  taken  out  of  the  way,  there  can  be  no  perfect  reconciliation, 
no  communion  between  God  and  the  creatures ;  though  the  sinner  may 
be  pardoned  on  God's  terms,  yet  the  purity  of  God  is  irreconcilable  to 
sins ;  and  therefore,  if  you  live  in  sin  and  continue  in  sin,  there  can  be 
no  commerce  between  God  and  you. 

[2.]  Sin  is  the  great  disease  of  mankind,  which  disableth  us  for  the 
service  of  our  Creator.  Therefore  the  Kedeemer  came  to  take  away  sin, 
for  he  considered  God's  interest  as  well  as  ours  :  Heb.  ix.  14,  '  How 
much  more  shall  the  blood  of  Christ,  who  through  the  eternal  Spirit 
offered  himself  without  spot  to  God,  purge  your  consciences  from  dead 
works,  to  serve  the  living  God  ?  '  Christ's  end  was  to  fit  us  for  God's 
use,  and  therefore  to  sanctify  and  free  us  from  sin,  that  we  might  be 
in  a  capacity  to  love  and  please  God  again.  This  is  the  great  work  of 
the  physician  of  souls. 

[3.]  The  taking  away  of  sin  is  a  greater  benefit  than  impunity,  or 
the  taking  away  of  punishment,  as  sin  in  some  sense  is  worse  than 
damnation.  Those  means  which  have  a  more  immediate  connection 
with  the  last  end  are  more  noble  than  those  which  are  more  remote. 
The  last  end  in  respect  to  us  is  the  vision  and  fruition  of  God,  or  to  see 
him  and  be  like  him.  Now  the  taking  away  of  sin  hath  a  nearer  con- 
nection than  pardon  and  impunity ;  they  both  concur.  The  sentence 
of  death  must  be  taken  off,  which  maketh  us  incapable  ;  but  holiness 
is  a  part  and  an  introduction  into  the  blessed  estate  ;  it  doth  disposi- 
tively  prepare  us  for  it.  On  God's  part  the  pleasing  and  glorifying  of 
God  is  the  last  end.  Now  he  is  more  pleased  with  us  as  holy  than  as 
pardoned,  for  his  complacency  and  delight  is  in  the  reflection  of  his 
image  on  us  ;  and  he  is  more  glorified  in  our  passive  reception  of  his 
grace,  but  objectively  more  glorified  in  us  in  our  being  sanctified  and 
purified,  and  made  like  him.  Now  this  is  to  be  minded,  partly 
because  men  seek  to  get  rid  of  trouble  and  temporal  affliction,  but  not 
of  sin.  Pharaoh  could  say,  '  Take  away  this  plague  ; '  but  the  church 
saith,  '  Take  away  all  iniquity,'  Hosea  xiv.  2.  Those  who  are  sensible 
of  the  true  evil  do  mainly  desire  the  taking  away  of  sin  ;  that  is  their 
chief  care  and  solicitude  how  to  get  rid  of  it ;  that  is  it  they  complain  of 
in  the  first  place  as  their  chief  burden.  This  is  necessary  to  be  showed, 
partly  because  some,  if  they  mind  spiritual  things,  they  mind  only  pardon 
of  sin  and  ease  of  conscience,  not  to  be  freed  from  the  power  of  sin  ;  as 
if  a  man  that  had  broken  his  leg  should  only  desire  to  be  eased  of  his 
ismart,  but  not  to  have  it  set  again.  No  ;  the  true  j^enitent  is  troubled 
''with  the  stain  as  well  as  the  guilt.     Therefore  the  promise  is  suited : 

VeR.  5.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  HI.  9 

1  John  i,  9,  *If  we  confess  onr  sins,  he  is  faithful  and  just  to  forgive  us 
our  sins,  and  to  cleanse  us  from  all  unrighteousness.'  This  is  a 
thorough  cure. 

[4.]  There  is  no  taking  away  guilt  and  punishment  till  we  be  sancti- 
fied, till  sin  itself  be  taken  away.  The  one  part  of  the  cure  maketh 
way  for  the  other.  First  he  doth  regenerate  that  he  may  pardon.  As 
we  were  first  sinners  and  then  obnoxious  to  punishment,  so  first  holy 
and  then  pardoned,  first  brought  into  the  kingdom  of  Christ  and  mada 
subjects,  then  enjoy  the  privileges  as  subjects :  Col.  i.  13,  14,  '  Who 
hath  delivered  us  from  the  power  of  darkness,  and  hath  translated  us 
into  the  kingdom  of  his  dear  Son,  in  whom  we  have  redemption  through 
his  blood,  even  the  forgiveness  of  sins.'  We  are  first  turned  to  God  : 
Acts  xxvi.  20,  '  That  they  should  repent,  and  turn  to  God.'  We 
cannot  have  the  one  without  the  other.  So  you  stick  at  the  order, 
though  you  know  no  cause  ;  so  that  you  despise  all  benefit  by  Christ 
if  you  do  not  look  after  the  taking  away  of  sin. 

[5.]  It  is  a  manifest  contradiction  to  our  faith  to  live  in  sin  and  to 
believe  that  Christ  came  to  take  away  sin.  I  gather  that  from  the 
words  *ye  know.'  Christians  are  supposed  to  know  and  believe  the 
end  of  their  redemption.  If  we  know  it,  why  do  not  we  deal  with  him 
about  it  ?  Speculative  knowledge  and  practical  are  frequently  con- 
tradictory in  the  same  man.  We  speak. from  our  convictions,  but  we 
live  from  the  innate  dispositions  and  inclinations  of  our  own  hearts. 
Religion  doth  far  more  easily  tip  men's  tongues,  and  run  into  their 
heads,  than  change  their  hearts.  But  though  their  knowledge  and 
practice  be  contrary,  yet  thus  far  we  have  gained  an  argument,  that 
their  faith  condemns  their  practice  ;  and  however  we  make  a  shift  to 
match  them,  the  faith  of  christians  and  the  life  of  sin  are  in  themselves 
incompatible.  And  they  that  know  Christ  came  to  take  away  sin,  and 
yet  live  in  sin,  though  they  do  not  show  the  falsehood  of  their  religion, 
yet  they  show  their  own  insincerity  in  it ;  though  they  speak  honour- 
ably of  their  Redeemer  in  words,  yet  in  deeds  they  dislike  him,  and 
deny  him,  which  is  not  to  be  charged  upon  the  religion,  but  them- 
selves, as  an  art  is  not  disparaged  because  one  that  professeth  it  is  a 

[6.]  The  manner  of  Christ's  taking  away  sin  doth  represent  the 
heinousness  of  it,  and  is  a  sufficient  warning  to  the  world  not  to  con- 
tinue in  it :  '  For  if  these  things  were  done  to  the  green  tree,  what 
shall  be  done  to  the  dry  ?  '  When  we  look  upon  sin  through  Satan's 
spectacles,  and  the  cloud  of  our  own  passions  and  carnal  affections, 
we  make  nothing  of  it ;  but  in  the  agonies  of  Christ,  and  the  sorrows 
and  sufferings  of  his  cross,  we  see  the  odiousness  of  it,  that  it  may 
y)ecome  more  hateful  to  us.  No  less  remedy  would  serve  the  turn 
than  the  agonies,  bloodshed,  and  accursed  death  of  the  Son  of  God,  to 
procure  the  pardon  and  destruction  of  sin.  By  this  sin-offering  and 
ransom  for  souls  we  may  see  what  sin  is.  I  showed  you  before  the 
odiousness  of  sin,  as  it  is  a  transgression  of  the  law  ;  that  should  render 
it  odious  to  you  ;  but  now  I  i)ring  you  to  another  argument.  In 
Golgotha  is  the  truest  spectacle  of  sin,  and  liow  nuich  God  hateth  it 
and  loveth  purity,  that  it  may  be  seen  in  its  proper  colours.  We 
make  light  of  sin,  but  Christ  found  it  not  so  light  a  matter  to  expiate 


it.  Do  but  consider  his  fears  and  tears  and  strong  cries  when  he 
stood  in  the  place  of  sinners  before  God's  tribunal,  when  God  *  laid 
upon  him  the  iniquities  of  us  all.' 

[7.]  The  acceptableness  of  his  sacrifice  still  further  helpeth  us 
against  sin  :  '  He  came  to  take  away  sin/  and  was  accepted  in  what  he 
did.  Why  ?  Christ's  suffering  death  for  the  sin  of  man  was  the 
noblest  piece  of  service,  and  the  highest  degree  of  obedience  that  ever 
could  be  performed  to  God  by  man  or  angels,  there  being  in  it  so 
much  love  to  God,  pity  to  man,  so  much  self-denial,  so  much  humility 
and  patience,  and  such  a  resignation  of  himself  to  God,  who  appointed 
him  to  be  the  Kedeemer  of  the  world.  That  which  was  eminent  and 
upmost  in  it  was  obedience  :  Kom.  v.  19,  '  For  as  by  one  man's  dis- 
obedience many  were  made  sinners  ;  so  by  the  obedience  of  one,  shall 
many  be  made  righteous  ; '  Phil.  ii.  7,  8,  '  He  made  himself  of  no  re- 
putation, and  took  upon  him  the  form  of  a  servant,  and  was  made  in 
the  likeness  of  men  ;  and  being  found  in  fashion  as  a  man,  he  humbled 
himself,  and  became  obedient  unto  death,  even  the  death  of  the  cross.' 
God  doth  not  delight  in  the  shedding  of  blood ;  you  must  not  draw 
an  ill  picture  of  God  in  your  minds.  That  which  God  looked  after, 
and  accepted  was  the  eminent  obedience  of  Christ  in  our  nature  ;  so  his 
holy  and  righteous  life,  his  painful  and  cursed  death,  make  but  one 
entire  piece  of  obedience.  The  value  of  his  merit  was  from  the  God- 
head, but  the  formal  reason  of  his  merit  was  that  Christ  came  to  fulfil 
the  will  of  God,  '  by  which  will  we  are  sanctified,'  Heb.  x.  9,  10,  Now 
what  a  notable  check  is  this  to  sin,  and  living  impenitently  in  a  course 
of  disobedience  unto  God ! 

II.  As  Christ  is  propounded  by  way  of  pattern  and  example,  '  In 
him  was  no  sin.'  I  shall  first  speak  a  little  of  the  innocency  of  Christ ; 
secondly,  show  how  he  is  set  forth  as  a  pattern  and  example  of  holiness 
unto  us. 

1.  The  scripture  sets  forth  the  Lord  Jesus  as  an  eminently  holy 
and  innocent  person,  that  he  had  no  sin,  and  did  no  sin.  He  had 
no  sin,  being  by  his  miraculous  conception  exempted  from  the  contagion 
of  original  sin  :  Luke  i.  35,  '  The  Holy  Ghost  shall  overshadow  thee, 
and  that  holy  thing  Avhich  shall  be  born  of  thee  shall  be  called  the  Son 
of  God.'  Thus  was  our  Redeemer  fitted  to  be  completely  lovely  in  the 
eyes  of  God,  and  to  be  a  pattern  of  holiness  to  all  his  followers.  Not 
only  free  from  actual  sin,  but  as  having  a  perfect  holy  nature  in  him  ; 
to  show  that  we  should  not  only  prevent  the  outward  act,  but  be  free 
from  the  lust ;  and  not  only  lop  the  branches  of  sin,  but  destroy  the 
root  by  a  thorough  change  of  heart.  Evil  practices  in  us  do  not  flow 
from  a  present  temptation,  but  an  evil  nature ;  therefore  we  should  get 
the  divine  nature.  It  is  true  it  cannot  be  said  of  us  that  we  have  no  sin, 
but  yet  the  carnal  nature  should  not  be  predominant  in  us  ;  we  should 
have  another  spirit.  Secondly,  He  did  no  sin  :  2  Peter  ii.  22, '  He  did  no 
sin,  neither  was  guile  found  in  his  mouth.'  Christ  did  not  in  the  least 
ofiend  either  God  or  man  ;  as  guilty  of  no  transgression,  so  of  no  defect 
in  his  obedience  or  conformity  to  the  law  of  God.  It  is  true  he  was 
accused  of  sin,  but  who  could  convince  him  of  sin  ?  John  viii.  46, 
•Which  of  you  convinceth  me  of  sin  ? '  Though  his  name  was 
buried  under  many  calumnies  and  reproaches,  yet  none  of  his  malicious 

VeU.  5.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III,  11 

adversaries  could  ever  make  it  good  that  he  was  guilty  of  one  sin. 
It  is  true  he  was  tempted  to  sin,  and  the  most  venomous  of  Satan's 
fiery  darts  were  shot  at  him,  as  you  may  see,  Mat.  iv,  ;  but  though  he 
was  tempted  in  all  other  points  like  us,  yet  sin  is  excepted,  Heb.  iv. 
15.  He  was  spotless  and  free  from  sin,  there  was  nothing  in  liim  to 
befriend  a  temptation,  John  xiv.  30.  This,  christians,  is  our  glorious 
Lord  and  chief ;  he  had  no  sin,  nor  did  no  sin.  When  shall  it  be  said 
so  of  us  ?  We  wait  the  time,  but  it  will  be  so  at  length  ;  ere  Christ 
hath  done  with  us  it  must  be  so. 

2.  That  he  is  set  forth  as  a  pattern  and  example  of  holiness  in  our 
nature.  Christ,  that  did  open  heaven  by  his  merit,  would  also  teach 
lis  the  way  thither,  and  teach  us  as  a  good  teacher  should,  not  only  by 
his  doctrine,  but  by  his  example.  In  moral  things  his  example  is  to 
be  imitated  by  us  ;  these  reasons  enforce  it — 

[1.]  The  scriptures  do  everywhere  call  for  this  imitation  and  suitable 
walking  :  Phil.  ii.  5,  *  Let  the  same  mind  be  in  you  that  was  in  Jesus  ; ' 
Mat.  xi.  29, '  Learn  of  me,  for  I  am  meek  and  lowly.'  So  1  Peter  ii. 
21,  '  He  hath  left  us  an  example,  that  we  should  follow  his  steps  ; '  1 
John  ii.  6,  '  He  that  saith  he  abideth  in  him,  ought  also  himself  to 
walk  even  as  he  walked.'  I  have  brought  these  places  to  show  how 
binding  the  example  of  Christ  is. 

[2.]  That  the  Spirit  is  sent  and  given  us  to  change  us  into  his  like- 
ness :  2  Cor.  iii.  18,  '  But  we  all  with  open  face,  beholding  as  in  a  glass 
the  glory  of  the  Lord,  are  changed  into  the  same  image,  from  glory  to 
glory,  even  by  the  same  Spirit  of  the  Lord.'  We  can  no  more  follow 
his  example  than  obey  his  doctrine  without  the  same  spirit.  Here  one 
part  helpeth  another  ;  in  living  as  he  did,  we  come  to  be  like  him. 

[3.]  What  advantage  we  have  by  this  example.  First,  all  example 
hath  an  alluring  power  and  great  force  in  moving;  but  this  is  an  example 
of  examples,  not  of  equals  or  ordinary  superiors,  but  of  our  glorious  head 
and  chief.  Now  this  example  should  be  more  cogent.  First,  Because 
it  is  a  perfect  and  unerring  pattern.  Clirist's  life  is  religion  exempli- 
fied, a  visible  commentary  on  God's  will  and  word  :  2  Cor.  xi.  1,  '  Be 
ye  followers  of  me,  as  I  am  also  of  Christ.'  Here  you  cannot  err  if 
you  follow  Christ's  submission  in  his  imitable  examples  and  actions. 
Secondly,  It  is  an  engaging  pattern.  Submission  to  any  duty  should 
make  it  lovely  unto  us  :  '  The  disciple  is  not  above  his  lord,  nor  the  ser- 
vant above  his  master  ; '  John  xiii.  14, '  If  I  then,  your  Lord  and  master, 
have  washed  your  feet,  ye  ought  also  to  wash  one  another's  feet.'  Shall 
we  decline  to  follow  such  a  leader  ?  Thirdly,  It  is  an  effectual  pattern. 
Christ's  steps  drop  sweetness ;  he  hath  left  a  blessing  behind  in  all  the 
way  that  he  hath  trodden  before  us,  and  sanctified  it  to  us  that  we  may 
follow  it  with  comfort.  Fourthly,  It  is  a  very  encouraging  pattern,  for 
he  sympathiseth  with  us  in  all  our  difficulties,  having  entendered  his 
own  heart  by  experience  :  Heb.  ii.  18,  '  For  in  that  he  himself  hath 
suffered,  being  tempted,  he  is  able  to  succour  them  that  are  tempted ; ' 
Heb.  iv.  15,  '  For  we  have  not  a  high  priest  which  cannot  be  touched 
with  the  feeling  of  our  infirmities,  but  was  in  all  points  tempted  like 
as  we  are,  yet  without  sin.'  He  knoweth  the  weaknesses  and  reluct- 
ances of  nature  in  our  hardest  duties,  and  will  surely  pity  and  pardon 
our  infirmities,  and  cover  them  with  his  own  perfect  righteousness. 

12  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  iX. 

[4.]  Christ's  example,  and  unsinning  obedience  to  God,  is  a  notable 
check  to  sin,  and  all  the  temptations,  occasions,  and  inducements  which 
lead  to  it.  Notliing  should  be  of  such  value  with  a  christian  as  to  hire 
him  to  commit  wilful  sin.  Christ  obeyed  at  the  dearest  rates  and  terms, 
and  repented  not  of  his  engagement:  John  xiii.  1, '  Having  loved  his  own 
which  were  in  the  world,  he  loved  them  unto  the  end.'  A  christian  should 
have  the  same  mind,  and  then  it  will  be  armour  of  proof  against  all 
temptations :  1  Peter  iv.  1,  '  Arm  yourselves  with  the  same  mind,  for 
he  that  hath  suffered  in  the  flesh  hath  ceased  from  sin.'  In  one  place 
it  is  said, '  Let  the  same  mind  be  in  you ; '  in  another, '  Arm  yourselves 
with  the  same  mind.'  Temptations  will  have  little  force  upon  you 
when  you  resolve  to  obey  God  whatever  it  cost  you.  The  frowns  of 
the  world,  yea,  life  itself,  will  be  as  nothing.  Secondly,  Is  it  the 
pomp  and  pleasure  and  honour  of  the  world  wherewith  the  flesh  is 
gratified  ?  Christ  hath  put  a  disgrace  upon  these  things  by  his  own 
choice.  He  was  mean,  poor,  a  man  of  sorrows  ;  and  shall  we  look  to 
be  maintained  in  pomp  and  pleasure  ?  We  cannot  be  poorer  than 
Christ,  and  taste  less  of  the  world  than  he  did.  Thirdly,  A  love  to 
our  private  interests  hinders  us  from  seeking  the  glory  of  God  :  Rom. 
XV.  3,  Tor  even  Christ  pleased  not  himself;'  John  xii.  27,  28,  'For 
this  cause  came  I  to  this  hour :  Father,  glorify  thy  name.'  Every 
christian  should  be  thus  affected  ;  let  Christ  dispose  of  him  and  his 
interests  as  it  seemeth  good  to  him. 


And  ye  Icnoio  that  he  tuas  manifested  to  take  away  sin,  and  in  him 
loas  no  sin. — 1  John  iii,  5. 

From  these  words  I  have  observed  this  doctrine,  that  those  who  are 
i:)artakers  of  Christ  should  by  no  means  allow  themselves  in  a  life  or 
course  of  sin. 

The  uses  now  follow. 

First,  It  bindeth  our  duty  upon  us. 

Secondly,  It  assureth  and  sealeth  our  comfort  when  we  are  afflicted 
either  with  the  guilt  of  sin  or  the  power  of  sin. 

First,  It  bindeth  our  duty  upon  us.  They  that  do  not  break  off  a 
life  of  sin  make  Christ's  coming  in  vain.  But  because  men's  interest 
will  quicken  them,  therefore  consider,  Christ  must  take  away  sin,  or 
else  you  must  at  last  bear  your  own  sin.  But  alas  !  that  is  a  burden 
too  heavy  for  us  to  bear  ;  and  miserable  are  they  that  have  it  lying 
upon  their  backs.  It  will  not  be  light  when  we  reckon  with  God. 
Sin  to  a  waking  conscience  is  one  of  the  heaviest  burdens  that  ever  was 
felt :  Ps.  xxxviii.  4,  '  Mine  iniquities  are  gone  over  my  head,  they  are 
a  burden  too  heavy  for  me.'  You  will  find  the  little  finger  of  sin 
heavier  than  the  loins  of  any  other  sorrow.  What  a  weight  and  pres- 
sure will  it  be  to  tlie  soul !     If  you  do  but  taste  of  this  cup,  it  fiUeth 

VeR.  5.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  13 

you  with  trembling.  If  a  spark  of  God's  wrath  light  on  the  conscience, 
how  terribly  doth  it  scorch  ?  You  may  know  it  in  part  by  what  Christ 
suffered.  His  soul  was  heavy  unto  death.  If  his  soul  were  heavy  to 
death,  if  he  felt  such  strange  agonies,  sweat  drops  of  blood,  lost  the 
actual  sensible  comforts  of  his  Godhead,  when  he  bore  the  burden  of 
sin,  oh,  what  shall  every  one  of  us  do  if  we  were  to  bear  our  own 
burden  ?  You  may  also  know  it  by  the  complaints  of  the  saints,  when 
the  finger  of  God  hath  but  touched  them  :  Ps.  xl.  12,  '  Mine  iniquities 
take  hold  on  me,  therefore  mine  heart  fainteth.'  So  Jobcomplaineth.chap. 
vi.  4,  '  For  the  arrows  of  the  Almighty  are  within  me ;  the  poison  thereof 
drinketh  up  my  spirit ; '  the  arrows  of  the  Almighty,  though  shot  out  of 
Satan's  bow  ;  he  permitted  those  venomous  arrows  to  be  shot  at  him. 
Yea,  if  ye  will  know  what  it  is  to  bear  sin,  ask  not  only  a  tender  con- 
science, but  a  troubled  conscience.  What  disquiets  of  soul  do  wicked 
men  feel  when  God  sets  sin  home  upon  the  conscience,  and  they 
are  aw^akened !  How  uneasy  have  their  hearts  sat  within  them  ! 
Cain  crieth  out,  '  My  sin  is  greater  than  can  be  borne,'  Gen.  iv.  13  ; 
'  And  a  wounded  spirit  who  can  bear  ? '  Prov.  xxviii,  13.  What 
large  offers  do  men  make  to  get  rid  of  their  burden !  *  Thousands  of 
rams,  rivers  of  oil,  their  first-born  for  the  sin  of  their  souls,'  Micah  vi. 
7,  8.  Lastly,  what  it  is  to  live  and  die  in  sin,  the  other  world  will 
show  us.  Christ  usetli  no  other  expression  to  set  forth  the  misery  of 
the  unbelieving  Jews  but  this,  that  '  ye  shall  die  in  your  sins,'  John 
viii.  21,  24.  The  threatenings  of  the  word  show  their  case  is  miserable 
enough.  They  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  living  God,  Heb.  x.  31  ; 
and  the  worm  that  feedeth  on  them  shall  never  die,  and  the  fire 
wherein  they  are  scorched  is  never  quenched,  Mark  ix.  44.  Miserable, 
questionless,  is  the  state  of  them  who  bear  their  own  burden  and 
transgression.  Now  is  it  not  better  w^e  should  yield  up  ourselves  to 
Christ,  that  he  should  take  it  away,  and  do  the  work  of  a  Redeemer  ; 
and  that  we  should  not  by  our  carelessness,  negligence,  and  other  sins, 
provoke  the  Lord  to  withhold  his  healing  grace?  Oh,  let  us  be 
sensible  of  our  burden.  Will  Christ  ease  a  man  of  his  burden  which 
he  feeleth  not?  A  senseless  sleepy  soul  hath  no  w^ork  for  him  to  do. 
He  inviteth  the  weary  and  heavy-laden.  Mat.  xi.  28.  Being  sensible 
of  our  burden,  let  us  im^jlore  his  favour  ;  he  is  more  willing  to  give 
the  Holy  Spirit  to  them  that  ask  him  than  a  father  is  to  give  a  hungry 
child  bread,  Luke  xi.  13.  Let  us  wait  for  his  approaches  in  the 
diligent  use  of  the  means.  Our  duty  is  to  lie  at  the  pool  for  cure  till 
the  waters  be  stirred,  John  v.  His  Spirit  bloweth  when  and  where  he 
listeth,  John  iii.  8  ;  let  us  attend  and  obey  his  sanctifying  motions, 
for  we  make  ourselves  incapable  of  this  help  by  grieving  the  Spirit, 
Eph.  iv.  30.  When  we  become  so  easy  to  the  requests  of  sin  and  so 
deaf  to  his  motions,  he  ceaseth  to  give  us  warning. 

Again,  let  us  consider  his  example.  Will  you  be  so  unlike  Christ? 
'  In  him  was  no  sin,'  and  you  are  all  overspread  with  sin.  He  learned 
obedience  by  the  things  he  suffered,  Heb.  v.  8,  9.  He  came  to  be  the 
leader  to  everlasting  happiness  of  an  obeying  people  ;  his  stamp  and 
character  should  be  upon  ail  his  followers.  He  is  Christ,  you  are 
christians  ;  and  you  should  not  be  polluted  members  of  his  body. 
How  will  you  look  him  in  the  face  at  the  last  day  if  you  are  so  uulike 

l4  siiiii^roNs  UPON  1  JOHN  iiL  [Ser.  IX. 

him  ?  1  Jolin  iv.  17,  '  Herein  is  our  love  made  perfect,  that  we  may 
have  boldness  in  the  day  of  judgment ;  because  as  he  is  so  are  we  in 
the  world  ; '  if  we  be  holy  as  he,  spotless  as  he.  Of  polluted  sinners 
he  will  say,  Are  these  my  people  ?  How  will  you  then  be  ashamed  ? 
But  it  will  give  us  a  bold  confidence  when  we  have  written  after  his 
copy.  We  shall  never  be  like  him  in  glory  unless  we  be  first  like 
him  in  holiness.  Christ  will  own  his  image.  Boldness  is  opposite  to 
fear  and  shame ;  we  shall  neither  be  afraid  nor  ashamed  at  the  day  of 
judgment,  if  we  bear  his  image  upon  us. 

Secondly,  It  assureth  and  sealeth  our  comfort  when  we  are  afflicted 
either  with  the  guilt  or  power  of  sin.  To  this  end  I  shall  discuss  this 
argument  more  at  large,  and  show  you — 

1.  How  siu  is  taken  away — (1.)  By  justification  ;  (2.)  By  sanctifi- 

2.  What  grounds  we  have  to  expect  that  Christ  will  do  this  for  us. 

3.  What  we  must  do  that  this  effect  may  be  accomplished  in  us. 
First,  How  sin  is  taken  away  ;  but  first  we  must  determine  what  sin 

is.  It  is  usually  said  there  are  in  sin  four  things — culpa,  reatus,'pcena, 
macula,  the  blot  or  stain.  The  three  first  belong  to  sin  as  it  respects 
the  law ;  the  last,  as  it  respects  the  rectitude  of  human  nature  in 
innocency.  The  three  first  do  more  concern  justification,  the  last 

[1.]  Sin  may  be  considered  with  respect  to  the  law  ;  for  so  the 
nature  of  it  will  best  be  found  out ;  for  we  are  told  in  the  verse  before 
the  text,  that  '  sin  is  a  transgression  of  the  law.'  In  the  law  there  is 
the  precept  and  the  sanction.  The  precept  showeth  what  obedience 
is  due  from  us  to  God  ;  the  sanction  or  threatening  what  punishment  is 
due  to  us  in  a  state  of  disobedience.  Accordingly,  in  sin,  with  respect 
to  the  precept,  there  is  culpa,  the  fault,  or  criminal  action  ;  with 
respect  to  the  sanction  or  threatening,  there  are  two  things  considerable 
— sentence  and  execution.  As  the  commination  importeth  a  sentence 
and  respecteth  a  sentence,  so  there  is  guilt :  '  Because  sentence  is  not 
speedily  executed,'  Eecles.  viii.  11.  The  sentence  is  passed  in  the 
threatenings  of  the  law,  but  execution  is  deferred.  But  with  respect  to 
execution  it  is  called  pcena,  punishment. 

[2.]  Sin  may  be  considered  with  respect  to  that  rectitude  of  our 
heart  and  mind  which  God  gave  us  at  first  to  enable  and  incline  us  to 
keep  his  law  ;  and  so  cometh  in  macula,  the  stain  or  blot,  as  it  defaced 
God's  image  in  our  hearts:  Kom  iii.'23,  '  We  have  all  sinned,  and 
are  come  short  of  the  glory  of  God ; '  meaning  thereby  his  glorious 
image,  which  was  lost  and  forfeited  by  the  fall  of  Adam  ;  and  actually, 
because  in  the  day  of  God's  patience,  as  he  continueth  other  forfeited 
mercies  to  us,  so  some  relics  of  his  image  in  that  knowledge  and  con- 
science that  is  left.  Therefore  when  we  rebel  against  the  light,  and 
live  in  a  course  of  heinous  sin,  we  lose  more  and  more  of  that  goodness 
of  human  nature  that  is  yet  left,  and  bear  the  character  of  such  as  are 
given  up  to  vile  affections,  Kom.  i.  26  ;  and  Eph.  iv.  19,  'And  being 
past  feeling,  have  given  themselves  over  to  lasciviousness,  to  work 
uncleanness  with  greediness.'  God  leaveth  them  to  their  own  lusts 
without  restraint,  withholdeth  the  good  Spirit  that  was  wont  to  counsel 
and  warn  them.     3Iacula,  then,  the  blot  or  stain,  is  the  inclination  to 

TeR.  5.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  15 

sin  again  ;  as  a  brand  that  hath  been  once  in  the  fire,  is  more  apt  to 
take  fire  again.  This  is  the  fruit  of  sin,  and  we  pray  God  to  free  us 
from  it  yet  more  and  more,  by  giving  us  more  of  his  Spirit.  It  is  the 
heaviest  judgment  that  can  befall  us,  to  be  given  over  to  our  own 
heart's  counsels,  Ps.  h,  11 ;  and  David  prayeth,  after  heinous  sin,  that 
God  would  not  take  his  Holy  Spirit  from  him. 

But  let  us  now  consider  how  sin  is  taken  away  :  therein  what  is  to 
be  done  by  Christ,  and  what  is  to  be  done  by  us,  that  this  effect  may 
be  accomplished  in  us. 

And  first,  as  to  what  is  to  be  done  by  Christ,  and  there  how  sin  is 
taken  away,  both  as  to  justification  and  sanctification. 

1.  With  respect  to  justification ;  so  that  culpa,  reatus,  poena,  the 
fault  or  criminal  action,  cannot  be  said  to  be  taken  away,  but  only  it 
is  passed  by  as  it  is  the  foundation  of  our  guilt,  as  it  is  a  natural 
action  ;  such  a  fact  we  did,  or  such  a  duty  we  omitted  to  do.  As  it  is 
a  faulty  action,  contrary  to  the  law  of  God,  Christ  taketh  it  not  away, 
for  that  were  to  disannul  the  law,  or  the  obliging  force  and  authority 
of  it,  as  it  is  a  rule  of  perpetual  equity.  The  sins  we  have  committed 
are  sins  still ;  therefore  Christ  came  not  to  make  the  law  less  holy,  or 
a  fault  to  be  no  fault. 

Let  us  come  to  the  second  thing,  reatus,  the  guilt  of  sin.  There  is 
reatus  culpce,  the  guilt  of  sin  ;  and  reatus  paence,  the  guilt  of  punish- 
ment. Beatus  culpce,  is  the  applying  the  law  to  the  fact,  and  both  to 
the  person  that  hath  committed  it.  Suppose  that  such  a  fact  is  a  sin, 
because  such  a  law  forbiddeth  it,  and  that  I  am  guilty  of  such  a 
transgression  against  the  law  of  God  ;  sure  it  is  that  this  is  not  taken 
away  ;  my  faulty  act  is  an  oflfence,  and  I  am  an  offender.  We  cannot 
be  reputed  never  culpable,  to  have  omitted  any  duty,  or  committed 
any  sin  ;  for  the  new  covenant  is  not  set  up  to  make  us  innocent,  but 
pardonable  upon  certain  terms  ;  and  we  come  to  God  as  to  our  offended 
governor,  pleading  not  as  innocent,  but  as  sinners,  desiring  that,  in  the 
behalf  of  Christ,  our  sins  may  be  forgiven  to  us.  Then  there  is  reatus 
poenoe,  which  resulteth  from  the  sanction  of  the  law,  binding  us  over  to 
suffer  such  penalties  as  the  law  hath  determined.  Now  this  may  be 
understood,  quoad  meritum,  vel  quoad  eventum ;  according  to  the  merit 
of  the  action,  what  the  action  in  itself  deserveth,  which  is  condemnation 
to  punishment.  This  Christ  hath  not  taken  away,  and  never  intended 
to  take  away  ;  for  every  sinful  action  is  in  se  el  merito  operis  damnabilis 
in  itself,  and  by  the  desert  of  the  work  damnable ;  it  doth  deserve  dam- 
nation ;  but  quoad  eventum,  as  to  the  event  and  effect :  '  There  is  no 
condemnation  to  them  that  are  in  Christ,'  Rom.  viii.  1.  By  the  law  of 
grace  there  is  a  discharge  from  the  sentence  of  the  law,  and  so 
from  an  obligation  to  punishment.  This  will  be  made  clear  and 
plain  to  you  by  considering  what  is  required  of  us  in  suing  out  our 
pardon.  We  must  confess  the  sin :  1  John  i.  9,  '  If  we  confess  and 
forsake  our  sins,  he  is  just  and  righteous  to  forgive  us  our  sins.'  We 
must  confess  the  guilt  and  desert  of  sin  by  God's  righteous  law  :  1  Cor. 
xi.  31,  'For  if  we  would  jiulge  ourselves,  we  should  not  be  judged.' 
There  must  be  a  self-accusing  and  self-judging.  In  self-accusing  we 
confess  reaium  culpce ;  in  self-judging  we  confess  recdum  poence ; 
without  either  of   which  there  would  not  be  that  humiliation   and 

16  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  IX. 

brokenness  of  heart  which  the  scripture  calleth  for,  and  is  necessary 
for  us  in  our  entrance  into  the  gospel  covenant,  and  in  our  whole  deal- 
ing with  God  about  pardon.  Or  else  these  acts  must  be  performed 
very  perfunctorily,  and  not  in  reality  and  truth,  if  there  be  not  a 
ground  in  the  nature  of  the  thing ;  for  if  the  guilt  of  the  fault  were 
utterly  dissolved,  how  can  I  heartily  accuse  myself  of  such  and  such 
sins  before  the  Lord  ?  or  if  the  guilt  of  punishment  were  so  far 
dissolved  that  my  actions  did  not  in  their  own  nature,  and  by  the 
righteous  law  of  the  Lord,  deserve  such  condemnation  and  punishment, 
how  could  I  broken-heartedly  confess  myself  as  deserving  the  greatest 
evil  which  his  law  hath  threatened  ?  Well,  then,  pardon  is  not  a 
vacating  the  action,  or  making  a  thing  not  done  which  is  done,  or  a 
denial  of  the  fault  as  if  it  were  no  fault,  nor  an  annulling  of  the  desert 
of  punishment,  but  a  remission  of  the  punishment  itself  due  to  us  by 
the  law  of  nature.  This  is  that,  then,  which  the  law  of  grace  or  new 
covenant  doth  ;  every  penitent  believer  is  actually  and  really  pardoned 
and  discharged  from  the  penalty,  which  the  law  of  nature  maketh  his 
due  debt :  Mat.  vi.  12,  *  Forgive  us  our  debts,  as  we  forgive  our 
debtors.'  Our  debt  is  the  obligation  actually  to  suffer  the  full  punish- 
ment of  the  law. 

Now  we  will  consider  the  third  thing  in  sin,  that  is  poena,  the 
punishment,  and  that  is  either  temporal  or  eternal. 

[1.]  To  begin  with  the  last,  eternal  punishment.  We  are  discharged 
from  that  as  soon  as  we  have  an  interest  in  Christ ;  for  then  our 
state  is  altered,  and  God  doth  pardon  all  our  past  sins,  and  make  us  heirs 
of  eternal  life :  Gal,  iii.  13, '  Christ  hath  delivered  us  from  the  curse  of 
the  law,  being  made  a  curse  for  us.'  The  curse  of  the  law  may  be 
taken  actively  or  passively.  Actively,  it  is  nothing  else  but  the  sentence 
of  the  law,  or  of  God  the  judge,  condemning  the  transgressors  of  the 
law,  and  pronouncing  them  accursed :  '  For  cursed  is  every  one  that 
continueth  not  in  all  things  which  are  written  in  the  book  of  the  law  to 
do  them,'  Gal.  iii.  10  ;  which  curse  must  not  fall  to  the  ground,  but 
be  taken  off  by  some  valuable  compensation,  that  the  honour  of  God's 
government  may  be  secured,  and  that  is  done  by  Christ  in  being  made 
a  curse  for  us.  Passively,  it  signifieth  all  those  punishments  which 
are,  or  have  been,  or  shall  be,  or  may  be  inflicted  on  the  transgressors 
of  the  law  ;  but  chiefly  the  final  curse,  which  is  called  '  Wrath  to 
come,'  from  which  Christ  hath  delivered  us,  2  Thes.  i.  10 ;  which 
consists  in  two  things,  poena  damni  and  j9cewa  sensus  ;  the  loss  of  God's 
eternal  and  blessed  presence,  and  of  the  vision  and  fruition  of  him  in 
glory  :  Mat.  xxv.  41,  '  Depart  from  me,  ye  cursed.'  They  are  banished 
from  the  presence  of  the  Lord,  and  cast  into  utter  torment.  The  pain, 
when  we  fall  immediately  into  the  hands  of  an  angry  offended  God : 
Heb.  X.  31,  '  It  is  a  fearful  thing  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  living 
God.'  Now  sin  is  remitted  to  all  them  that  take  sanctuary  at  the 
Lord's  grace.  We  deserve  it,  but  he  hath  actually  discharged  us  from 
it  by  his  new  covenant ;  such  is  his  mercy  and  grace  to  us  in  Christ. 

[2.]  For  the  temporal  punishment :  while  we  have  sin  in  us,  and 
are  making  out  our  claim,  and  our  sanctification  is  imperfect,  God 
hath  reserved  a  liberty  for  his  corrective  discipline,  and  to  punish  and 
chastise  his  children  as  it  shall  seem  meet  to  his  wisdom  and  justice : 

VeR.  5.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHM  III.  17 

Ps.  Ixxxix,  32,  33,  '  Then  will  I  visit  their  transgression  with  a  rod, 
and  their  iniquities  with  stripes.  Nevertheless  my  loving-kindness  will 
I  not  utterly  take  from  him,  nor  suffer  my  faithfulness  to  fail.'  Now 
the  temporal  punishments  are  of  two  sorts — 

(1.)  Such  aflBlictive  evils  as  belong  to  his  external  government.  It  is 
hard  to  reckon  up  all  of  them  to  you,  but  the  consummate  evil  is 
death,  and  the  intermediate  evils  are  of  different  kinds.  It  is  said  in 
one  place,  Dent.  xxv.  20,  '  All  the  curses  which  are  written  in 
this  book  shall  light  ujion  him ;'  but  in  another,  Deut.  xxviii.  61,  'Every 
curse  which  is  not  written  in  this  book  will  the  Lord  bring  upon  thee,' 
whether  written  or  not  written,  committed  to  record  in  the  word,  or 
dispensed  in  his  providence.  God  hath  reserved  this  liberty  to  him- 
self, to  correct  his  sinning  children  in  what  way  he  pleaseth.  To 
reduce  it  in  short ;  all  good  is  from  God,  and  all  evil  is  iVom  sin  ;  and 
in  pursuance  of  his  eternal  love,  and  to  keep  them  from  damnation,  he 
will  sometimes  chastise  them  sorely  :  1  Cor.  xi.  32,  '  For  when  we  are 
judged  we  are  chastened  of  the  Lord,  that  we  should  not  be  condemned 
with  the  world ; '  and  Jer.  v.  25,  '  Your  iniquities  have  turned  away 
these  things,  and  your  sins  have  withheld  good  things  from  you ; ' 
Micah  i.  5,  '  For  the  transgression  of  Jacob  is  all  this,  and  for  the  sins 
of  the  house  of  Israel.'  So  Amos  iii.  2,  'You  only  have  I  known  of  all 
the  families  of  the  earth  :  therefore  I  will  punish  you  for  all  your 
iniquities.'  A  rod  dipped  in  guilt  may  smart  sorely  upon  the  backs  of 
God's  people.  God's  displeasure  is  felt  in  their  chastisements  and 
judgments.  Surely  their  author  is  God,  their  cause  is  sin,  their  end  is 
repentance.  We  are  in  danger  to  despise  the  calamities  which  befall 
us  and  our  families  if  we  do  not  own  this  truth.  It  is  true  it  turneth 
to  good,  but  still  it  is  a  natural  evil.  If  we  were  without  sin,  he  would 
give  us  the  good  without  the  evil ;  you  greatly  mistake  if  you  think 
there  is  no  displeasure  of  God  in  all  this. 

(2.)  There  are  certain  afflictions  which  belong  to  his  internal  govern- 
ment, as  when  God  manifesteth  his  displeasure  to  the  party  sinning 
by  withdrawing  his  Spirit,  the  evil  which  David  was  so  much  afraid 
of:  Ps.  li.  10-12,  'Create  in  me  a  clean  heart,  0  God,  and  renew 
a  right  spirit  within  me.  Cast  me  not  away  from  thy  presence,  and 
take  not  thy  Holy  Spirit  from  me.  Restore  unto  me  the  joy  of  thy 
salvation,  and  uphold  me  with  thy  free  Spirit.'  He  desireth  that  God 
Avould  not  withdraw  his  grace,  and  the  influence  and  comfort  of  his 
Holy  Spirit,  which  he  had  so  justly  forfeited  by  his  heinous  sin.  This 
is  the  sorest  judgment  on  this  side  hell,  to  be  deprived  of  inward  com- 
jnunion  with  God.  It  is  not  a  total  separation  from  liis  favour  and 
])re8ence,  but  yet  it  is  a  degree  of  it ;  when  God  is  strange  to  us,  and 
suspendeth  all  the  acts  of  his  complacential  love,  leaving  us  dull 
and  senseless,  having  no  heart  or  life  to  anything  that  is  spiritually 
good.  And  if  we  repent  not,  God  may  go  further,  and  deliver  us  up 
to  brutish  lusts.  The  evils  are  greater  or  less,  according  to  the  rate  of 
our  sins  or  neglects  of  grace.  These  penal  withdrawings  of  the  Spirit 
should  therefore  be  observed  ;  for  God  showeth  much  of  his  pleasure 
or  displeasure  by  giving  or  withholding  the  Spirit.  His  blessing  and 
favour  is  showed  this  way  :  Prov.  i.  23,  '  Turn  at  my  reproof,  and  I 
will  pour  out  my  Spirit  to  you.'     But  when  God  is  refused,  or  neglected, 

VOL.  XXI.  B 

18  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  IX. 

or  highly  provoked,  he  then  departs  :  Ps.  Ixxxi.  11,  12,  '  Israel  would 
none  of  me  ;  so  I  gave  them  np  to  tlieir  own  hearts'  lusts.'  This  is  more 
than  all  the  calamities  in  the  world, 

2.  In  a  way  of  sanctification.  So  Christ  taketli  away  sin  by  giving 
us  his  Spirit,  whereby  the  stains  of  our  nature  are  cleansed.  We  are 
renewed  in  righteousness  and  holiness,  according  to  his  image :  Eph. 
iv.  24,  '  And  that  ye  put  on  the  new  man,  which  after  God  is  created 
in  righteousness  and  true  holiness  ; '  2  Cor.  iii.  18,  '  We  beholding  the 
glory  of  the  Lord,  are  changed  into  his  image  and  likeness.' 

Now  concerning  this  way  of  taking  away  sin,  let  me  observe  four 
things — 

[1.]  That  the  Spirit  is  given*  us  as  the  fruit  of  Christ's  merit  and 
sacrifice  :  Titus  iii.  5,  6,  'Not  by  works  of  righteousness  which  we  have 
done,  but  according  to  his  mercy  he  saved  us,  by  the  washing  of  regen- 
eration, and  renewing  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  which  he  shed  on  us 
abundantly  through  Jesus  Christ  our  Saviour ; '  Gal.  iii.  14,  '  That  the 
blessing  of  Abraham  might  come  on  the  gentiles,  through  Jesus  Christ, 
that  we  might  receive  the  promise  of"  the  Spirit  through  faith.'  He 
was  the  rock  that  was  smitten  by  the  rod  of  Moses  :  1  Cor.  x.  4,  '  And 
they  did  all  drink  of  the  same  spiritual  drink  ;  for  they  drank  of  that 
spiritual  rock  that  followed  them,  and  that  rock  was  Christ.'  If 
Christ  were  the  rock,  the  water  that  flowed  from  the  rock  was  the 
Spirit :  John  iv.  14,  '  Whosoever  drinketh  of  the  water  that  I  shall 
give,  shall  never  thirst ;  but  the  water  that  I  shall  give  him  shall  be 
in  him  a  well  of  water,  springing  up  into  everlasting  life  ; '  John  vii. 
38,  39,  '  He  that  believeth  on  me,  out  of  his  belly  shall  flow  rivers  of 
living  water.  But  this  he  spake  of  the  Spirit,  which  they  that  believe 
on  him  should  receive.'  Well,  then,  upon  the  account  of  Christ's  merit 
and  sacrifice,  God  doth  by  the  Spirit  create  a  clean  heart  within  us, 
and  a  right  spirit,  that  we  may  live  in  obedience  to  his  holy  will. 

[2.]  That  the  gift  of  the  Spirit  is  a  kind  of  executive  pardon,  or  a 
receiving  the  atonement ;  for  this  grace  was  forfeited  by  sin,  as  man 
brought  death  spiritual  upon  himself,  as  well  as  temporal  and  eternal, 
and  we  made  the  stain  of  sin  to  consist  in  the  loss  of  the  Spirit,  or 
an  inclination  to  sin  again  ;  therefore  by  sanctification,  or  the  gift  of 
the  Spirit,  is  our  pardon  executed  upon  us  or  applied  to  us.  As  the 
withdrawing  or  withholding  the  Spirit  is  a  great  part  of  our  punish- 
ment, so  the  gift  of  the  Spirit  is  the  great  and  first  act  of  God's 
pardoning  mercy,  and  a  means  to  qualify  us  for  the  other  parts  of 
God's  pardon  ;  for  before  men  are  converted,  they  are  unpardoned : 
'  Turn  you  from  all  your  transgressions,  and  iniquity  shall  not  be  your 
ruin,'  Ezek.  xviii.  30  ;  and  Isa.  Iv.  7,  '  Let  the  wicked  forsake  his  way, 
and  the  unrighteous  man  his  thoughts  ;  and  let  him  return  to  the 
Lord,  and  he  will  have  mercy  upon  him,  and  to  our  God,  for  he  will 
abundantly  pardon.'  Therefore  till  there  be  a  turning  from  the  life 
of  sin  to  God  by  faith  in  Christ,  there  is  no  actual  justification  nor 

[3.]  That  when  repentance  towards  God  and  faith  in  our  Lord  Jesus 
Christ  is  begun  in  us  by  the  Spirit,  there  is  promised  a  further  degree 
of  the  Spirit  to  be  given  to  us  to  dwell  in  us  :  Acts  ii.  38, '  Kepent,  and 
be  baptized  every  one  of  you  in  the  name  of  Jesus  Christ,  for  the  re- 

VeR.  5.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  19 

mission  of  sins  ;  and  ye  shall  receive  the  gift  of  the  Holy  Ghost ; ' 
Prov.  i.  23, '  Turn  ye  at  my  reproof :  behold,  I  will  pour  out  my  Spirit 
unto  you  :  '  Eph.  i.  13,  'After  that  ye  believed,  ye  were  sealed  with  the 
Holy  Spirit  of  promise ; '  and  that  for  a  durable  use,  to  be  in  us  a 
Spirit  of  sanctification  and  adoption.  First,  To  be  a  Spirit  of  sanctifi- 
cation :  2  Thes.  ii.  13,  '  God  hath  chosen  you  to  salvation  through 
sanctification  and  belief  of  the  truth.'  As  he  converted  us  to  God,  so 
he  is  a  '  Spirit  of  regeneration  ; '  but  as  he  doth  further  sanctify  and 
cleanse  us,  and  fit  us  for  God,  and  make  us  amiable  in  his  sight,  so  he 
is  called  a  '  Spirit  of  sanctification,'  properly  so  taken.  It  is  by  the  Spirit 
dwelling  in  us  that  we  mortify  and  subdue  sin,  Rom.  viii.  13.  It  is  by 
the  Spirit  we  exert  and  put  forth  all  acts  of  holiness  :  Gal.  v.  25,  '  If 
we  live  in  the  Spirit,  let  us  also  walk  in  the  Spirit ; '  and  perform  all 
duties  to  God  in  the  Spirit.  In  short,  the  grace  of  the  Spirit  is  given 
us  to  subdue  the  power  of  sin,  and  strengthen  us  against  temptations, 
and  that  we  may  perfect  holiness  in  the  fear  of  God.  Secondly,  A  Spirit 
of  adoption  :  Gal.  iv.  6,  '  Because  ye  are  sons,  he  hath  sent  the  Spirit 
of  his  Son  into  our  hearts.'  The  same  Spirit  that  maketh  us  holy 
possesseth  us  with  a  filial  love  of  God,  and  a  dependence  on  him  ;  so 
that  childlike  love,  with  a  ])leasing  obedience  and  dependence,  are  the 
great  effects  and  tokens  of  his  dwelling  in  us  as  a  Spirit  of  adojition. 

[4.]  This  Spirit  doth  by  degrees  fit  us  for  our  everlasting  estate  :  2 
Cor.  v.  5,  '  He  that  formeth  us  for  the  self-same  thing  is  God,  who 
also  hath  given  us  the  earnest  of  the  Spirit ; '  and  therefore  he  must 
not  be  obstructed  in  his  work,  while  he  is  preparing  the  heirs  of  promise 
aforehand  unto  glory,  lest  we  lose  not  only  the  comfort  of  our  future 
hopes,  but  be  set  back  in  the  spiritual  life,  and  so  grieve  the  Holy  Spirit 
of,  who  is  both  our  sanctifier  and  comforter.  Thus  we  have 
seen  what  Christ  doth  to  take  away  sin  ;  he  freeth  us  from  the  ever- 
lasting miseries  of  the  damned  in  hell,  and  will  surely  free  us  from 
the  miseries  of  this  life,  if  we  be  obedient,  and  hearken  to  his  counsel. 
But  in  the  midst  of  weaknesses  our  title  to  impunity  and  life  eternal 
remaineth  unreversed,  though  it  be  often  obscured  by  our  sin  and 

Secondly,  What  must  we  do  that  sin  may  be  thus  taken  away?  For 
I  observe,  first,  that  those  things  which  God  worketh  in  us,  and  bestoweth 
upon  us  by  his  grace,  he  also  requireth  of  us  by  his  command  :  Ezek. 
xxxvi.  26,  '  A  new  heart  will  I  give  you,  and  a  new  spirit  I  will  put  into 
you.'  Yet  Ezek.  xviii.  31,  'Cast  away  from  you  all  your  transgressions 
whereby  ye  have  transgressed,  and  make  you  a  new  heart,  and  a  new 
spirit ; '  and  in  many  other  places.  Sometimes  he  promiseth  to  turn 
us,  sometimes  he  commandeth  us  to  turn  to  him ;  sometimes  he  biddetii 
us  to  put  away  sin,  sometimes  he  promiseth  to  take  it  away  from  us  ; 
in  the  one  showing  what  is  our  duty,  in  the  other  where  is  our  help  ; 
^Ihe  one  inferreth  regeneiation,  whicli  is  the  work  of  the  Spirit,  the 
other,  repentance,  which  is  our  duty.  Again,  the  death  of  Christ  must 
be  considered  either  as  it  respecteth  God  or  us.  As  it  res{)ecteth  God, 
it  is  a  price  [)aid  to  provoked  justice  to  purchase  grace  for  us:  Isa.  liii. 
5,  '  He  was  wounded  for  our  tran.sgressions,  he  was  bruised  for  our 
iniquities,  the  chastisement  of  our  peace  was  upon  him,  and  with  his 
•siiipes  we  are  healed.'     As  it  respects  us,  it  layeth  an  obligation  upon 

20  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  IX. 

US  to  do  what  is  proper  to  us  :  1  Peter  i.  22,  '  Seeing  you  have  purified 
your  souls  in  obeying  the  truth  through  tlie  Spirit.' 

What  then  are  we  to  do  ? — (1.)  As  to  our  entrance  into  Christianity  ; 
(2.)  As  to  our  recovery  out  of  our  falls. 

1.  As  to  our  entrance  into  the  grace  of  the  gospel,  there  is  required 
j'epentance  towards  God,  and  faith  in  our  Lord  Jesus  Clu-ist,  Acts 
XX.  21. 

[1.]  Repentance  towards  God,  which  consists  in  a  serious  purpose 
and  willingness  to  let  sin  go,  and  a  fixed  resolution  to  love,  serve, 
and  please  God,  bewailing  and  bemoaning  ourselves  to  God  with 
grief  and  shame :  Jer.  xxxi.  18,  '  I  have  heard  Ephraim  bemoaning 

[2.]  Faith,  or  an  acceptance  of  Christ  as  the  only  physician  of  our 
souls,  who  alone  can  cure  and  change  our  hearts ;  therefore,  depending 
upon  the  universal  offer  of  his  grace,  we  are  resolved  to  use  the  means 
which  he  hath  appointed,  that  this  cure  may  be  wrought  in  us,  Rom. 
vii.  24,  25. 

2.  For  our  recoveiy  out  of  particular  falls,  something  is  to  be  done 
with  respect  to  those  four  things  which  are  in  sin. 

[1.]  As  to  the  fault ;  be  sure  the  fault  be  not  continued,  which  is 
when  the  criminal  acts  are  repeated.  Relapses  are  very  dangerous.  A 
bone  often  broken  in  the  same  place  is  with  the  more  difficulty  set 
ngain.  God's  children  are  in  danger  of  this  before  the  breach  be  well 
made  up,  or  the  orifice  of  the  wound  well  closed  ;  as  Lot  doubleth  his 
incest,  and  Sampson  goeth  again  and  again  to  Delilah,  Judges  xvi.  2, 
4.  But  wicked  men  sin  frequently,  as  that  king  who  would  venture 
fifty  after  fifty ;  nothing  will  stop  them  in  the  way  of  their  sins. 

[2.]  The  guilt  continueth  till  serious  and  solemn  repentance,  and 
suing  out  our  pardon  in  the  name  of  Christ :  1  John  i.  9,  '  If  we  con- 
fess and  forsake  our  sins,  he  is  just  and  faithful  to  forgive  us  our  sins, 
and  to  cleanse  us  from  all  unrighteousness.'  Though  a  man  should 
forbear  the  act,  and  never  commit  it  more,  yet  unless  retracted  by  seri- 
ous remorse,  and  humbling  ourselves  before  God,  it  avails  not.  This 
self-accusing  is  necessary,  that  we  may  know  how  much  we  are  indebted 
to  grace.  Look  into  thy  bill,  what  owest  thou  ?  Luke  vii.  47, '  She  wept 
much,  because  she  loved  much;  and  she  loved  much,  because  much 
was  forgiven  her.'  She  had  a  greater  measure  of  love  to  God  and 
Christ.  This  self-judging  is  that  which  makes  us  the  more  earnest 
for  pardon,  Luke  xviii.  13,  and  grief  and  shame  in  both,  to  strengthen 
us  against  i-elapses,  that  we  may  forsake  the  sins  we  confess :  Prov. 
xxviii.  13, '  He  that  confesseth  and  forsaketh  his  sins,  shall  have  mercy.' 
Slight  acknowledgments  do  not  mortify  sin. 

[3.]  The  blot  or  evil  inclination  to  sin  again.  The  evil  influence  of 
sin  continueth  till  we  mortify  the  root  of  it ;  it  is  not  enough  to  mortify 
ihe  sin,  but  we  must  pull  out  the  core  of  the  distemper  before  all  will 
be  well.  Jonah  repented  of  forsaking  his  call ;  yet,  not  mortifying  the 
root,  it  brake  forth  again.  He  stood  upon  his  credit,  Jonah  iv.  1,  2. 
Christ  trieth  Peter  :  John  xxi.  15, '  Lovestthou  me  more  than  these  ?  ' 
He  had  boasted  before,  '  Though  all  men  forsake  thee,  I  will  never 
forsake  thee,'  Mat.  xxvi.  33.  Though  Peter  had  wept  bitterly  for  the 
fact,  yet  Christ  would  tij  if  the  cause  were  removed.     Peter  is  grown 

VeR.  5.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  21 

more  modest  now  than  to  make  any  comparisons.  We  must  use  means 
lo  get  the  sinning  disposition  checked. 

[4.]  As  to  poena,  we  must  deprecate  the  eternal  punishment  as  de- 
served by  us,  through  the  merit  of  our  actions,  still  'looking  to  Jesus, 
who  hath  delivered  us  from  wrath  to  come.'  But  as  to  temporal 
evils  which  God  may  inflict  upon  us  partly  for  the  increase  of  our  repent- 
ance, when  we  smart  under  the  fruits  of  sin  ;  for  the  evil  of  punish- 
ment doth  much  help  us  to  judge  of  the  evil  of  sin  :  Jer.  ii.  19, 
*  Thine  own  wickedness  shall  correct  thee,  and  thy  backsliding  shall 
reprove  thee :  know,  therefore,  and  see  that  it  is  an  evil  thing 
and  bitter,  that  thou  hast  forsaken  the  Lord  thy  God,  that  his  fear  is 
not  in  thee.'  Partly  to  make  us  a  warning  to  others,  that  they  do  not 
displease  God  as  we  have  done :  2  Sam.  xii.  14,  '  Howbeit,  because  by 
this  deed  thou  hast  given  occasion  to  the  enemies  of  God  to  blas- 
pheme ;  the  child  also  that  is  born  unto  thee,  shall  surely  die.'  For 
these  reasons,  I  say,  God  may  punish  us  in  our  persons,  or  in  our 
families  and  relations  ;  wherefore  we  should  humbly  deprecate  the  judg- 
ment :  Ps.  vi.  12,  '  Lord,  correct  me  not  in  thine  anger,  nor  chasten 
me  in  thy  hot  displeasure.'  That  we  may  stop  the  judgment,  and  get 
it  mitigated ;  or,  if  it  come,  we  may  patiently  bear  it  with  humble 
submission  to  the  will  of  God  :  Micah  vii.  9,  '  I  will  bear  the  indigna- 
tion of  the  Lord,  because  I  have  siimed  against  him.'  Not  mourning 
as  without  hope,  yet  humbling  ourselves,  and  putting  our  mouths  iu 
the  dust. 

Secondly,  Now  what  grounds  have  we  that  Christ  will  do  this  for 
us  ? 

1.  Christ's  office  and  undertaking,  which  he  cannot  possibly  neg- 
lect ;  for  this  end  was  he  manifested,  and  sent  by  the  Father,  to  take 
away  sin:  Acts  v.  31,  'God  hath  exalted  him  to  be  a  prince  and  a 
saviour,  to  give  repentance  and  remission  of  sin.'  Will  he  come  in 
vain,  and  miss  of  his  ends,  or  fail  a  serious  soul  that  expecteth  and 
waiteth  for  the  benefit  of  his  office  ?  The  generality  of  the  christian 
world  prize  his  memory  but  neglect  his  offices ;  but  now,  those  that 
depend  on  his  name,  and  seek  the  fruits  of  his  office,  will  he  frustrate 
their  expectations  ? 

2.  Consider  how  able  he  is  to  make  good  his  offices,  the  merit  of 
his  humiliation,  and  the  power  of  his  exaltation.  First,  The  merit 
of  his  humiliation  :  1  Peter  i.  18,  19,  'Forasmuch  as  ye  know  that  ye 
were  not  redeemed  with  corruptible  things,  as  silver  and  gold,  from 
your  vain  conversations  received  by  tradition  from  your  lathers,  but 
with  the  precious  blood  of  Christ,  as  of  a  lamb  without  blemish  and  with- 
out spot.'  Wliat  a  price  hath  he  given  for  sanctifying  and  healing  grace! 
which  should  not  only  heighten  our  esteem  of  the  i)rivilege,  but  increase 
our  confidence.  So  Isa.  liii.  5,  *  But  he  was  wounded  for  our  transgres- 
sions, he  was  bruised  for  our  iniquities,  the  chastisement  of  our  peace  was 
upon  him,  and  with  his  stripes  we  are  healed,'  Such  is  the  })erfection 
and  merit  of  his  sacrifice,  that  we  may  depend  upon  it;  he  will  not  lose 
the  fruit  of  his  obedience  and  suffering.  Secondly,  Tiie  power  of  his 
exaltation:  Acts  iii.  26,  'God  having  raised  up  his  Son  Jesus,  sent 
liim  to  bless  you,  in  turning  away  every  one  of  you  from  his  iniqui- 
ties.'   Christ  having  paid  our  ransom,  is  gone  to  heaven,  aa(J  hath  full 

22  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR,  X. 

power  to  free  us  from  sin,  even  all  those  that  heartily  consent  to  liis 

3.  He  is  willing  to  do  this  for  you.  Why  else  did  he  purchase  it  at 
eo  dear  a  rate?  Why  doth  he  offer  it  so  freely  in  the  promises  of  the 
f^ospel,  and  in  that  covenant  which  was  made,  stated,  and  sworn  unto  ? 
Heb.  vi.  17,  18.  Why  else  has  he  been  so  kind  to  all  that  are  now  in 
glory  ?  There  is  none  in  heaven  by  the  first  covenant ;  all  that  are 
there  come  thither  as  justified  and  sanctified  by  Jesus  Christ,  and  in 
the  way  of  his  pardoning  grace.  Surely  he  will  not  be  strange  to  them 
that  bemoan  themselves.  Consider  his  merciful  nature,  his  appearing 
in  our  flesh,  that  we  might  have  this  confidence  :  Heb.  ii.  17,  '  Where- 
fore in  all  things  it  behoved  him  to  be  made  like  his  brethren,  that  he 
might  be  a  merciful  and  faithful  high  priest  in  things  pertaining  to 
God,  to  make  reconciliation  for  the  sinsof  the  people.'  Well,  then,  Christ 
is  willing  if  we  are  willing;  there  you  will  find  it  sticketh.  He  came 
to  take  away  sin,  but  we  will  not  give  way  to  his  Spirit ;  we  are  neither 
sensible  of  our  burden,  nor  earnest  for  a  cure,  at  least  a  sound  cure.  We 
seek  ease  and  comfort  more  than  the  removing  of  the  distemper. 


Whosoever  ahidetli  in  him  sinneth  not  :  ivhosoever  sinneth  hath 
not  seen  him,  neither  known  him. — 1  John  iii.  6. 

Here  is  a  double  argument  against  an  evil  and  sinful  life,  which  is 
drawn  from  our  union  and  communion  with  Christ  by  faith,  or  our 
Jjnowledge  of  him.  It  is  delivered  in  a  copulate  axiom,  where  there  is 
a  comparison  of  contraries.  These  two  contrary  parties  are  set  forth 
in  two  propositions,  the  one  asserting  the  property  and  disposition  of 
the  true  believer,  the  other  refuting  the  claim  of  the  pretender.  In 
the  one  an  argument  from  union  with  Christ,  the  other  from  the  know- 
ledge of  him. 

1st  Proposition, '  Whosoever  abideth  in  him  sinneth  not ; '  where  we 
have  the  subject  and  the  predicate.  . 

1.  The  subject,  'Abideth  in  him;'  that  is,  he  who  is  united  to 
Christ  by  a  true  and  lively  faith,  and  perseveres  in  this  union,  abideth 
in  him.  In  effect,  whosoever  is  a  true  christian,  for  they  are  often 
expressed  by  this  character :  1  John  ii.  6,  '  He  that  abideth  in  him 
ought  himself  also  to  walk  even  as  he  walked.'  This  is  the  great 
duty  pressed  upon  us :  1  John  ii.  27,  28,  '  But  the  anointing  which  ye 
have  received  of  him,  abideth  in  you  ;  and  ye  need  not  that  any  man 
teach  you  :  but  as  the  same  anointing  teacheth  you  of  all  things,  and 
is  truth,  and  is  no  lie ;  and  even  as  he  hath  taught  you,  ye  shall  abide 
in  him.  And  now,  little  children,  abide  in  him,  that  when  he  shall 
appear,  we  may  have  confidence,  and  may  not  be  ashamed  before 
him  at  his  coming  ;'  and  John  xv.  4-7,  'Abide  in  me,  and  I  in  you  : 
as  the  branch  cannot  bear  fruit  of  itself)  except  it  abide  in  the  vine, 

YeR.  6.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  23 

no  more  can  ye,  except  ye  abide  in  me.  I  am  the  vine,  and  ye  are 
the  branches :  he  that  abideth  in  me,  and  I  in  liim,  the  same  bringeth 
forth  mnch  fruit ;  for  without  me  ye  can  do  nothing.  If  a  man  abide 
not  in  me,  he  is  cast  forth  as  a  branch,  and  is  withered  ;  and  men 
gather  them,  and  cast  them  into  the  fire,  and  they  are  burned.  If  ye 
abide  in  me,  and  my  words  abide  in  you,  ye  shall  ask  what  ye  will, 
and  it  shall  be  done  unto  you.'  The  phrase  implieth  intimacy  and 

[1.]  Intimacy,  or  the  near  and  close  conjunction  between  Christ 
and  a  believer  by  faith. 

[2.]  Constanc}',  or  an  adherence  to  him,  and  dependence  upon  him 
on  our  part ;  for  the  union  is  not  like  to  break  on  Christ's  side;  it  is 
we  that  are  pressed  to  abide  in  him,  and  that  first  because  some  are  in 
Christ  only  by  visible  profession,  and  Christ  will  not  cast  them  off  if 
they  do  not  fall  off.  Secondly,  Because  the  elect  must  consider  the 
danger  of  apostasy  :  '  Let  him  that  standeth  take  heed  lest  he  fall.' 

2.  The  predicate,  '  Sinneth  not ; '  that  is,  according  to  the  sense  of 
our  apostle,  liveth  not  in  a  course  of  known  sin,  for  otherwise  there  is 
no  man  that  sinneth  not,  1  Kings  viii.  46  ;  and  again,  Eccles.  vii.  20, 
'  There  is  not  a  just  man  upon  earth,  that  doeth  good,  and  sinneth  not' 
Therefore  the  meaning  of  the  apostle  is,  that  for  the  main  he 
endeavoureth  after  purity  and  holiness,  and  alloweth  himself  in  no  sin. 

%1  Proposition.  There  the  order  is  inverted  ;  for  the  predicate 
in  the  former  proposition  is  the  subject  here :  '  Whosoever  sinneth,' 
that  is,  in  the  sense  aforesaid,  whosoever  doth  so  give  himself  over  to 
sin  as  not  to  endeavour  purity  and  holiness,  either  deliberately  and 
designedly  doeth  evil,  or  doth  negligently  oppose  evil,  leaveth  the  boat 
to  the  stream. 

Then  the  predicate,  '  Hath  not  seen  him,  nor  known  him  ; '  that  is, 
was  never  acquainted  with  Christ. 

But  yet,  because  the  expressions  are  emphatical,  I  shall  sift  them  a 
little  more  narrowly. 

1.  These  expressions  are  used  because  all  that  are  Christ's  are 
bound  to  know  him,  and  to  be  acquainted  with  him:  John  x.  11,  'I 
know  my  sheep,  and  am  known  of  mine.'  The  knowledge  is  mutual  ; 
as  he  knoweth  us,  and  taketh  care  of  us,  so  we  know  him,  and  take 
care  of  his  precepts. 

2.  That  where  sight  and  knowledge  are  efi'ectual,  it  is  a  mighty 
check  to  sin :  3  John  11,  '  He  that  doeth  good  is  of  God ;  but  he 
that  doeth  evil  liath  not  seen  God.'  Seeing  and  knowing  are  put  for 
a  lively  faith :  John  xvii.  3,  'And  this  is  life  eternal,  to  know  thee  the 
only  true  God,  and  Jesus  Christ  whom  thou  hast  sent ; '  John  vi.  40, 
'He  that  seeth  the  Son  and  believeth  on  him  hath  eternal  life.'  So 
that  the  meaning  is,  he  hath  not  a  true  and  lively  faith. 

3.  The  expressions  are  fitly  used  to  disprove  the  Gnostics,  a  sort  of 
knowing  people,  who  falsely  did  pretend  a  higher  knowledge  of  Christ 
without  newness  of  life ;  yea,  though  they  wallowed  in  all  manner  of 
filthiness;  therefore  called  Borborites;  and  one  of  their  dogmas 
or  opinions  was,  that  a  jewel  in  the  dirt  is  a  jewel  still.  Therefore 
their  knowledge  or  science,  falsely  so  called,  is  often  disproved^  in  the 
writings  of  this  apostle  :  1  John  ii.  4,  '  He  that  saith,  I  know  him,  and 

24  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  X. 

keepeth  not  his  commandments,  is  a  liar,  and  the  truth  is  not  in 

4.  The  case  in  hand  or  under  debate  was  about  seeing  Christ  and 
being  like  him  ;  but  none  shall  see  liim  hereafter  but  those  that  now  in 
some  sort  see  him  and  know  him ;  for  faith  is  the  introduction  to  the 
beatifical  vision.  If  we  do  not  see  him  now,  and  know  liim  now,  we 
shall  neither  see  him  nor  know  him  hereafter ;  but  he  that  liveth  an 
evil  and  sinful  life  hath  not  seen  him,  neither  known  him  ;  and  there- 
fore such  cannot  expect  to  see  him  as  he  is,  and  be  like  him. 

5.  There  is  plainly  in  the  words  a  negative  gradation,  where  the 
greatest  is  denied  first,  as  is  frequent  in  scripture ;  as  Ps.  cxxi.  4, 
'  Behold,  he  that  keepeth  Israel  shall  neither  slumber  nor  sleep  ; '  and 
Heb.  xiii.  5,  '  I  will  never  leave  thee  nor  forsake  thee.'  A  man  may 
leave  the  company  of  another  whom  he  doth  not  forsake.  So  here,  he 
hath  neither  seen  Christ  nor  known  him.  Sight  implieth  clearness  and 
certainty  ;  and  so  the  meaning  is,  that  he  is  so  far  from  seeing  Christ, 
that  he  hath  not  known  him.     The  points  observable  are  two — 

First,  That  whosoever  is  ingrafted  into  Christ  by  a  true  and  lively 
faith,  and  hath  union  and  communion  with  him,  ought  not  nor  cannot 
allow  himself  in  any  known  sin. 

Secondly,  That  no  sight  and  knowledge  of  Christ  is  saving  and 
effectual  but  what  checketh  sin  and  prevents  living  in  a  course  of  sin. 

For  the  first  point,  that  whosoever  is  ingrafted  into  Christ  by  a  true 
and  lively  faith,  and  hath  union  and  communion  with  him,  ought  not 
nor  cannot  allow  himself  in  any  known  sin. 

Here  I  shall  examine — (1.)  What  is  union  and  communion  with 
Christ ;  (2.)  This  is  to  be  considered  as  begun  and  as  continued  ;  (3.) 
Why  this  union  with  Christ  is  inconsistent  with  a  sinful  life. 

I.  For  the  first,  certainly  there  is  a  near  and  close  union  between 
Christ  and  christians.  To  be  in  a  thing  is  more  than  to  be  with  it,  by 
it,  or  about  it,  or  to  belong  to  it.  Now  we  do  not  only  belong  to  Christ, 
but  are  in  him,  John  xvii.  26,  and  2  Cor,  v.  17,  '  Whosoever  is  in 
Christ  is  a  new  creature.'  What  this  union  is,  is  a  mystery,  and  hard 
to  explain.  When  the  apostle  had  told  us  that  '  we  are  members  of 
his  body,'  he  addeth,  Eph.  v.  32,  '  But  this  is  a  great  mystery  :  but  I 
speak  concerning  Christ  and  his  church,'  The  near  conjunction  between 
Christ  and  his  people  is  one  of  the  secrets  in  religion  not  slightly  to 
be  passed  over,  nor  yet  very  curiously  to  be  pryed  into.  The  conjunc- 
tion is  real,  but  the  way  of  it  is  spiritual  and  heavenly.  Many  things 
in  religion  are  known  by  their  effects  rather  than  their  nature.  The 
thing  is  plain,  but  the  manner  hidden  ;  and  it  is  our  business  to  seek 
after  the  blessed  effects  of  it  rather  than  accurately  to  study  the  natui-e 
of  it.  Yet  it  is  profitable  to  see  how  it  is  brought  about.  Take  it  thus, 
confederation  maketh  way  for  union,  union  for  fruition,  and  fruition  for 
communion,  and  communion  for  familiarity  between  Christ  and  us  or 
God  and  us  by  Christ. 

1.  Confederation  is  the  foundation  of  all  on  our  part ;  for  entering  into 
covenant  with  God  is  the  ground  of  our  union  with  him,  or  by  Christ 
with  him  ;  for  then  God  is  our  God,  and  we  are  his  people,  Jer.  xxiv. 
7.  Abraham  is  called  the  friend  of  God  with  respect  to  the  covenant, 
James  ii.  23 ;  and  we  have  the  right  of  sons  by  receiving  Christ :  John 

VeR.  6.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  111.  25 

i.  12,  '  To  as  many  as  received  him,  to  them  gave  he  power  to  become 
the  sons  of  God ; '  or  accepting  him  as  their  Lord  and  Saviour.  When 
the  self-condemning  sinner  doth  consent  to  the  terms  of  the  gospel, 
and  heartily  accept  Christ  to  be  to  liim  what  God  hath  appointed  him 
to  be  and  do  for  poor  sinners,  he  hath  full  allowance  to  call  God  Father, 
and  is  possessed  of  all  the  privileges  which  belong  to  his  children. 

2.  Upon  this  foUoweth  union  with  Christ,  which,  what  it  is,  cometh 
now  to  be  discussed.  This  certainly  is  not  a  mere  relation  to  Christ. 
Union  indeed  giveth  us  a  title  to  Christ  and  Christ  a  title  to  us :  Cant.  ii. 
16,  '  I  am  my  beloved's,  and  he  is  mine.'  But  yet  there  is  somewhat 
more  than  a  relation ;  for  Christ  is  not  only  ours  and  we  his,  but  he  is 
in  us  and  we  in  him.  God  is  ours,  and  we  are  his,  and  God  is  in  us, 
and  we  in  God.  It  is  represented  not  only  by  relative  unions,  but 
such  as  are  real.  Kelative,  as  marriage  ;  where  man  and  wife  by  the 
marriage  covenant  are  one  flesh,  Eph.  v.  31,  32.  But  by  the  head 
and  members,  who  make  one  body,  not  with  respect  to  a  political,  but 
natural  body :  1  Cor.  xii.  12,  '  For  as  the  body  is  one,  and  hath  many 
members,  and  all  the  members  of  that  one  body,  being  many,  are  one 
body  ;  so  also  is  Christ.'  By  vine  and  branches,  who  make  but  one 
tree  :  John  xv.  5,  'I  am  the  vine,  ye  are  the  branches.'  Again,  it  is 
compared  to  the  food  and  substance  that  is  nourished  by  it :  John  vi. 
56,  '  He  that  eateth  my  flesh,  and  drinketh  my  blood,  dwelleth  in  me, 
and  I  in  him.'  As  the  meat  is  turned  into  the  eater's  substance,  so 
they  and  Christ  become  one  ;  and  on  feeding  on  Christ  by  faith,  there 
followeth  a  mutual  inhabitation.  We  dwell  in  him  by  constant  de- 
pendence, and  he  abideth  in  us  by  constant  influence  and  the  quick- 
ening virtue  of  his  Spirit.  Nay,  once  more,  it  is  compared  with  the 
mystery  of  the  Trinity,  and  the  union  that  is  between  the  divine  persons: 
John  xvii.  21-23,  '  That  they  all  may  be  one,  as  thou,  Father,  art  in 
me,  and  I  in  thee  ;  that  they  also  may  be  one  in  us,  that  the  world 
may  believe  that  thou  hast  sent  me.  And  the  glory  which  thou  gavest 
me,  I  have  given  them,  that  they  may  be  one,  as  we  are  one :  I  in  them, 
and  thou  in  me  ;  that  they  may  be  perfect  in  one,  and  that  the  world 
may  know  that  thou  hast  sent  me,  and  hast  loved  them  as  thou  hast 
loved  me.'  Which,  though  it  cannot  be  understood  to  the  full,  yet  at 
least  it  is  more  than  a  bare  relation.  The  mystical  union  im{)lieth 
somewhat  more  than  a  bare  title.  Yea,  it  is  not  only  a  notion  of  scrip- 
ture, but  a  thing  effected  and  wrought  in  us  by  the  Spirit :  '  By  one 
Spirit  we  are  baj)tized  into  one  body,'  1  Cor.  xii.  13.  Now  the  Spirit's 
works  are  real.  What  he  doth,  doth  not  infer  a  bare  title  and  relation 
only  ;  there  is  a  presence  of  Christ  in  our  hearts,  and  a  vivifical  influ- 
ence caused  by  it. 

3.  Union  maketh  way  for  fruition  and  communion  ;  fur  we  being 
in  Christ,  receive  all  manner  of  blessings  through  him  and  from  him : 
1  Cor.  i.  30,  '  But  of  him  ye  are  in  Christ  Jesus,  who  of  God  is  made 
unto  us  wi.sdom,  and  righteousness,  and  sanctification,  and  redemption;' 
that  is,  we  receive  all  manner  of  benefits  by  virtue  of  our  union  with 
him.  Certainly  this  union  is  not  a  dry  notion  ;  the  comfort  flowing 
thence  is  very  real.  More  especially  these  benefits  may  be  reduced  t(» 
two — the  favour  of  God,  and  the  life  of  God.  First,  The  favoiu-  of 
God ;  being  reconciled  to  him  by  Christ,  all  our  sins  arc  pardoned  : 

26  SKllMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  X. 

Eph.  i.  14,  '  In  whom  we  have  redemption  through  his  blood,  the 
remission  of  sins.'  So  far  that  we  are  exempted  from  condemnation  : 
Rom.  viii.  1,  *  There  is  no  condemnation  to  them  that  are  in  Christ 
Jesus.'  And  our  persons  are  accepted  :  Eph.  i.  6,  '  He  hath  accepted 
us  in  the  Beloved.'  And  we  are  put  under  the  hopes  of  eternal  life : 
Col.  i.  27,  '  Christ  in  you  the  hope  of  glory.'  Oh,  what  a  mercy  is  this, 
that  we  that  could  not  think  of  God  without  horror,  nor  hear  him 
named  without  trembling,  nor  pray  to  him  with  any  comfort  and  con- 
fidence, have  now  by  Christ  pardon  and  absolution,  and  free  access 
with  assurance  of  welcome  and  audience,  whenever  we  stand  in  need 
of  him ;  and  not  only  so,  but  may  hopefully  expect  a  child's  portion 
in  heaven,  '  To  be  partakers  of  the  inheritance  of  the  saints  in  light.' 
Secondly,  The  life  of  God,  which  is  begun  in  regeneration,  and  continued 
by  the  influence  of  his  Spirit  dwelling  and  working  in  our  hearts,  till 
it  be  perfected  in  the  life  of  glory  :  1  John  v.  12,  '  He  that  hath  the 
Son  hath  life.'  Another  kind  of  life  than  he  had  before  ;  a  living  in 
God  and  to  God,  which  is  the  noblest  kind  of  living  and  being  under 
the  sun  :  Gal.  ii.  20,  '  I  live,  yet  not  I,  but  Christ  liveth  in  me ;  and 
the  life  that  I  live  in  the  flesh,  I  live  by  the  faith  of  the  Son  of  God  ; ' 
and  Christ  is  called  our  life,  Col.  iii.  4.  Christ  is  the  root  and  foun- 
tain of  it,  the  living  head  in  whom  all  the  members  live,  and  from 
whom  they  receive  strength  and  influence  :  John  xiv.  19,  '  Because  I 
live,  ye  shall  live  also.'     We  live  by  virtue  of  his  life. 

4.  Communion  and  fruition  maketh  way  for  familiarity,  for  real  inter- 
courses of  love  between  Christ  and  the  soul.  He  dwelleth  and  walketh 
with  us,  and  we  with  him  ;  he  directeth,  counselleth,  and  quickeneth 
us,  and  we  live  in  a  holy  subjection  and  obedience  to  the  motions  and 
inspirations  of  liis  grace  :  Ps.  xxvii.  8,  '  Thou  saidst.  Seek  ye  my  face  : 
my  heart  said,  Thy  face.  Lord,  will  I  seek.'  He  speaketh  to  believers 
by  the  excitations  of  his  grace,  and  the  infusion  of  spiritual  comforts ; 
and  they  to  him  in  holy  thoughts,  prayers,  and  addresses  unto  his 
majesty.  There  is  a  constant  interchange  of  donatives  and  duties, 
graces  and  services,  prayers  and  blessings.  More  especially  this 
.familiarity  and  converse  is  either  in  solemn  ordinances  and  duties  of 
religion,  or  in  a  constant  course  of  holiness.  First,  In  solemn  duties 
of  religion.  Prayer  is  called  an  access  to  God,  Eph.  iii.  12  ;  a  spiritual 
acquaintance  with  him.  Job  xxii.  21.  By  constant  commerce  men 
settle  into  an  acquaintance  with  one  another.  Secondl}'',  In  a  constant 
course  of  holiness :  1  John  i.  7,  '  If  we  walk  in  the  light  as  he  is  in 
the  light,  then  have  we  fellowship  one  with  another.'  Conformity  is 
the  ground  of  communion.  When  we  love  what  God  loveth,  and 
hate  what  he  hateth,  then  he  is  with  us,  maintaining,  directing,  sup- 
porting us  in  all  our  ways  ;  and  we  are  with  him,  fearing,  loving, 
pleasing,  and  serving  him,  and  glorifying  his  name. 

II.  This  union  and  communion  is  not  only  as  it  is  begun,  but  con- 
tinued. All  union  must  have  some  bonds  and  ties  by  which  it  is 
effected  ;  so  this  mystical  spiritual  union.  The  primary  bands  are 
those  which  begin  the  union,  the  secondary  bands  are  those  which 
continue  it.  The  primary  bands  are  the  Spirit  and  faith,  the  secondary 
are  the  constant  inhabitation  and  influence  of  the  same  Spirit  with 
faith  and  other  graces. 

VeR.  6.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  111.  27 

1.  Primary.  God  maketh  his  first  entry  into  us  by  his  Spirit,  for 
it  is  the  Spirit  wliich  planteth  us  into  the  mystical  body  of  Clu'ist :  1 
Cor.  xii.  13,  '  For  by  one  Spirit  we  are  all  baptized  into  one  body.'  For 
by  the  quickening  virtue  of  this  Spirit  is  faith  wrought  in  us,  and  then 
the  soul  embraceth  and  receiveth  Christ,  and  the  nuptial  knot  is  tied. 
Christ,  as  the  most  worthy,  and  as  having  the  quickening  and  life- 
making  power,  beginneth  with  and  taketh  hold  of  us,  that  we  may 
take  hold  of  him :  Phil.  iii.  12,  '  That  I  may  apprehend  that  for  which 
I  am  apprehended  of  Christ.'  The  Spirit  is  the  bond  on  Christ's  part, 
and  faith  the  principal  bond  on  ours.  And  if  you  ask  me  what  act  it 
is  ?  I  answer — A  broken-hearted  and  tliankful  acceptance  of  Christ, 
as  God  offereth  him  to  us ;  that  is  the  closing  act  on  our  part ;  then 
Christ  and  we  join  hands,  when  we  resolve  to  cleave  to  him,  and  receive 
him  as  our  Lord  and  Saviour,  John  i.  12. 

2.  For  the  continuance  of  this  union,  or  our  abiding  in  him,  the 
Spirit  is  still  necessary:  1  John  iv.  13,  'Hereby  we  know  that  God 
dwelleth  in  us,  and  we  dwell  in  God, by  the  Spirit  that  he  hath  given 
us.'  So  is  faith  :  Eph.  iii.  17,  '  That  he  may  dwell  in  your  hearts  by 
faith.'  Faith  is  the  means  whereby  Christ  dwelleth  in  us  by  the  Spirit, 
and  it  is  also  the  means  of  our  dwelling  in  him,  and  our  adherence  to 
him,  and  dependence  upon  him.  We  do  not  use  Christ  at  a  pinch,  or 
as  a  pen  to  write  with,  and  lay  it  down  when  we  have  done,  but  as  the 
branches  use  the  vine,  and  the  members  the  head  which  they  live  by, 
and  from  which  when  they  are  separated,  they  dry  and  wither.  The 
heart  must  be  habituated  to  a  constant  dependence  on  Christ.  Well, 
then,  the  communion  between  Christ  and  his  members  is  mutual,  they 
being  in  him  by  faith  and  a  steady  dependence,  and  he  in  them  by  his 
Spirit  as  the  root  of  their  spiritual  being ;  but  then  all  other  graces 
concur,  and  have  their  use  and  influence,  as  chiefly  love,  wliich  causeth 
a  delightful  adhesion  to  him  :  Deut.  x.  20,  '  Thou  shalt  serve  the 
Lord  thy  God,  and  to  him  shalt  thou  cleave.'  We  cleave  to  him 
by  love,  as  we  live  in  him  by  faith.  As  Jonathan's  soul  clave  to  David, 
or  was  knit  to  the  soul  of  David,  1  Sam.  xviii.  3,  or  Jacob's  life  was 
said  to  be  bound  up  with  the  lad's  life,  because  of  his  tender  love  to 
him.  Gen.  xliv.  30,  so  a  believer's  soul  cleaveth  to  Christ;  love  cannot 
endure  a  separation  :  Rom.  viii.  35,  '  What  shall  separate  us  from  the 
love  of  Christ?  sliall  tribulation,  or  distress,  or  persecution,  or  famine, 
or  nakedness,  or  peril,  or  sword  ?  '  When  we  will  not  suffer  ourselves, 
either  by  the  allurements  or  terrors  of  the  world,  or  solicitations  of  the 
flesh,  or  temptations  of  the  devil,  to  be  withdrawn  from  the  profession 
of  his  name,  or  zeal  for  his  truth,  or  the  observance  of  his  precepts, 
then  are  we  said  to  abide  in  him.  Well,  then,  love  is  necessary,  only 
there  is  a  difference  between  faith  and  love.  Faith  is  the  primary 
bond,  and  love  the  secondary  ;  for  the  union  is  begun  by  faith,  but 
continued  by  love.  The  first  thing  that  tieth  the  nuptial  knot  is  faith, 
or  choosing  and  receiving  Christ,  and  that  which  continueth  it  is  con- 
jugal loyalty  and  fidelity,  or  cleaving  to  Christ  by  love.  Once  more, 
the  moral  union  of  hearts  is  by  love,  the  mystical  by  faith.  Christ 
must  dwell  in  us  as  the  head  and  fountain  of  om-  life,  but  by  love  we 
embrace  him  as  our  friend  whom  we  most  dearly  love  and  esteem. 
Lastly,  by  faith  he  dwelleth  in  us  effectively,  by  his  influence  maintaining 

28  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  X. 

our  life,  and  supplying  us  with  all  things  necessary  to  godliness.  By 
love  he  dwelleth  in  us  objectively,  by  such  a  union  as  is  between  the 
object  and  the  faculty.  A  star  is  in  the  eye  that  seeth  it  though  it  be 
ten  thousands  of  miles  distant ;  and  what  you  think  of  is  in  your  minds, 
and  what  you  desire  is  in  your  hearts.  A  scholar's  mind  is  in  his  books 
when  he  is  absent  from  them,  and  a  wicked  man's  mind  is  in  his  sin 
when  he  is  not  practising  it,  Col.  i.  21  ;  and  we  usually  say,  the  mind 
is  not  where  it  liveth,  but  where  it  loveth.  When  you  fear  God,  your 
mind  is  with  him  ;  when  you  love  God,  your  heart  is  with  him.  This 
is  an  objective  union,  but  by  faith  there  is  a  union  of  concretion  and 
coalition.  Christ  is  the  stock,  we  the  graft ;  we  are  said  to  be  planted 
into  him,  Eom.  vi.  5,  he  being  to  us  the  fountain  and  principle  of  a 
spiritual  life,  or  the  root  of  vivifical  influence. 

III.  Why  they  ought  not  nor  cannot  allow  themselves  in  known 

1.  Tliey  ought  not,  because  a  great  obligation  lieth  upon  them 
above  others.  The  apostle  telleth  us :  1  John  ii.  6,  '  He  that  saith 
he  abideth  in  him,  ought  to  walk  as  he  walked.'  Zanchy  observeth 
it  is  not  only  utile,  profitable  to  walk  as  he  walked,  but  dehiium,  a 
necessary  and  express  duty  ;  they  ought  to  walk.  Why  is  it  their 
duty  mOre  than  others  ?  First,  Lest  they  displease  Christ,  and  forfeit 
the  sense  of  his  love,  who  hath  done  so  much  for  them  as  to  reconcile 
them  unto  God,  and  hath  taken  them  into  his  mystical  body  that  he 
may  give  them  his  Holy  Spirit.  And  after  all  this,  shall  we  break  his 
laws  and  grieve  his  Spirit  ?  This  is  to  abide  in  Christ  against  Christ, 
with  Judas  to  kiss  him  and  betray  him.  He  is  best  pleased  when  we 
obey  his  laws  rather  than  fondly  esteem  his  name  and  memory:  1  John 
V.  3,  '  For  this  is  the  love  of  God,  that  we  keep  his  commandments  ; ' 
John  xiv.  21,  'He  that  hath  my  commandments  and  keepeth  them,  he 
it  is  that  loveth  me  ; '  John  xv.  10,  *  If  you  keep  my  commandments 
ye  shall  abide  in  my  love.'  His  is  a  love  of  bounty,  ours  a  love  of 
duty.  This  is  the  course  that  is  best  pleasing  to  him,  and  the  ready 
way  to  continue  the  sense  of  his  love  to  you.  Secondly,  Lest  they  dis- 
honour Christ.  What!  when  you  are  taken  into  the  cabinet  of  Christ's 
mystical  body,  wdl  you  yet  sin  when  you  are  one  with  God  and  Christ? 
'Let  them  be  one  with  us,'  John  xvii.  21.  You  sin  in  God;  and  though 
j'ou  are  planted  into  the  good  vine,  yet  bring  forth  the  clusters  of 
Sodom  and  grapes  of  Gomorrah.  What !  sin  in  Christ  ?  He  was 
holy  and  you  profane,  he  was  humble  and  you  proud,  he  was  meek 
and  you  contentious,  charitable  and  you  malicious;  he  did  ever  please 
God,  and  you  do  nothing  but  displease  him.  Christ  came  to  make  you 
saints,  and  you  live  like  beasts  for  sensuality,  yea,  like  devils  for  envy 
and  hatred.  Is  this  the  fruit  of  your  being  in  Christ  and  living  in 
Christ  ?  You  entitle  him  to  your  disorders,  and  pollute  his  name 

2.  They  cannot;  union  with  Christ  is  inconsistent  with  a  life  of 
sin.  The  apostle  saith,  '  he  sinneth  not,'  making  it  not  only  the  duty, 
but  the  property  of  those  that  abide  in  Christ.  It  must  needs  be  so, 
because  otherwise  the  communion  is  but  pretended.  And  it  is  on  our 
parts  interrupted  and  broken  off. 

[1.]  It  is  but  pretended:  'He  that  saith  he  abideth  in  him,  ought  to 

Vj:r.  G.]  sermons  upon  i  john  hi.  29 

walk  as  lie  walked.'  Otherwise  you  do  but  say  it,  it  is  not  a  reality. 
I  prove  it  thus:  Because  where  there  is  union  and  communion  with 
Christ,  there  his  Spirit  is  given  to  us,  and  they  that  have  the  Spirit  of 
Christ  will  be  like  him  ;  the  Spirit  worketli  uniformly  in  head  and 
members.  Therefore  if  the  same  Spirit  and  life  be  in  us  that  was  in 
Christ,  there  must  needs  be  a  suitableness.  If  the  spirit  of  the  living 
creature  be  in  the  Avheels,  the  wheels  must  move  as  the  living  creature 
raoveth.  Surely  if  we  have  not  the  Spirit  of  Christ,  we  are  not  united 
to  him,  Kom.  viii.  9.  If  we  have,  we  shall  be  such  in  the  world  as  he 
was,  have  the  same  mind  that  he  had,  and  walk  as  he  walked.  It  was 
an  old  cheat  of  the  heathens  to  pretend  to  secrecy  with  their  gods  when 
they  would  promote  any  design  they  had  in  hand.  Many  talk  much 
of  communion  with  God  and  Christ,  but  where  are  the  fruits  ?  So 
that  unless  we  will  delude  ourselves  with  a  bare  notion  and  empty 
pretence,  we  must  endeavour  to  find  that  it  is  in  sincerity. 

[2.]  It  is  on  our  part  interrupted  and  broken  off;  we  do  what  in  us 
lieth  to  provoke  Clirist  to  withdraw,  for  the  condition  of  this  com- 
munion is  holiness :  1  John  i.  6,  7,  '  If  we  say  we  have  fellowship  with 
him,  and  walk  in  darkness,  we  lie,  and  do  not  the  truth.  But  if  we 
Avalk  in  the  light,  as  he  is  in  the  light,  then  we  have  fellowship  one 
with  another  ; '  John  xiv.  23,  '  If  any  man  love  me,  he  will  keep  my 
words,  and  my  Father  will  love  him  ;  and  we  will  come  unto  him,  and 
make  our  abode  with  him.'  Conformity  maketh  way  for  communion, 
and  likeness  is  the  ground  of  love.  Therefore,  if  we  sin,  if  we  walk 
contrary  to  God,  we  do  not  abide  in  him  ;  for  there  is  a  contradiction, 
that  we  should  abide  in  him,  and  yet  break  off  from  him  as  we  do  by 
wilful  sin. 

Use  1.  Information;  to  teach  us  how  to  check  sin  by  the  remembrance 
of  union  and  communion  with  Christ :  1  Cor.  vi.  15,  '  Shall  I  take  the 
members  of  Christ,  and  make  them  the  members  of  a  harlot?  God  forbid.' 
The  apostle  is  reasoning  against  fornication,  and  one  main  argument  is 
taken  from  our  union  with  Christ.  The  bodies  of  the  faithful  are  a 
part  of  his  mystical  body,  and  therefoi-e  must  be  used  with  reverence, 
and  possessed  in  sanctification  and  honour  ;  not  given  to  a  harlot,  but 
reserved  for  Christ.  He  proveth  the  argument  on  both  parts,  that  he 
that  is  joined  to  a  harlot  maketh  himself  one  witii  a  harlot,  and  he 
that  is  joined  to  Christ  becometh  one  with  Christ.  *  He  that  is  joined 
to  a  harlot  is  one  body ; '  i.e..  that  conjunction  is  carnal  and  bodily : 
'  But  he  that  is  joined  to  the  Lord  is  one  spirit ;'  i.e.,  this  conjunction 
is  holy  and  spiritual.  And  does  not  the  argument  hold  good  in  other 
cases  ?  Thus  in  gluttony  and  intemperance,  they  join  us  to  something 
that  is  different  from  Ciirist,  and  debase  the  body  which  Christ  liath 
made  the  temple  of  his  Spirit.  Nay,  though  the  sin  be  not  so  gross, 
the  argument  is  good  still.  Do  we  dwell  in  Christ,  and  make  Christ's 
mystical  l)ody  a  shelter  and  sanctuary  for  sinners,  and  this  great 
mystery  of  union  with  Christ  only  a  cover  for  a  carnal  heart  and  life  ? 
Surely  every  one  that  is  in  Christ  hath  greater  obligations  than  others, 
being  taken  into  such  a  nearness  to  God ;  and  has  greater  helps,  having 
received  of  liis  fulness,  John  i.  IG.  They  have  grace  from  him,  as  the 
branches  have  sap  from  the  root. 

Use  2.  Are  we  true  members  of  Clirist's  mystical  body  ?     '  VViioso- 

30  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  X. 

ever  abideth  in  him  sinneth  not.'  Let  ns  pause  on  this  a  little.  Do 
not  we  sin  daily  ?  But  unavoidable  failings  do  not  forfeit  or  break  off 
our  union  and  communion  with  him.     What  then? 

1.  There  are  many  sins  which  are  utterly  inconsistent  with  true 
godliness  ;  and  if  a  child  of  God  should  fall  into  them  in  some  rare, 
unusual  case,  he  cannot  know  himself  a  child  of  God.  Surely  to  live 
in  them  doth  clearly  decide  the  matter.  As,  for  instance,  consider 
these  scriptures :  1  Cor.  vi.  9,  '  Know  ye  not  that  the  unrighteous 
shall  not  inherit  the  kingdom  of  God  ?  be  not  deceived  :  neither 
fornicators,  nor  idolaters,  nor  adulterers,  nor  effeminate,  nor  abusers  of 
themselves  with  mankind,  nor  thieves,  nor  covetous,  nor  drunkards, 
nor  revilers,  nor  extortioners,  shall  inherit  the  kingdom  of  God  ; '  Gal. 
v.  19-21,  '  Now  the  works  of  the  flesh  are  manifest,  which  are  these; 
adultery,  fornication,  uncleanness,  lasciviousness,  idolatry,  witchcraft, 
hatred,  variance,  emulations,  wrath,  strife,  seditions,  heresies,  envyings, 
murders,  drunkenness, revellings, and  suchlike:  of  these  things  I  tell 
you  before,  as  I  have  also  told  you  in  time  past,  that  they  which  do 
such  things  shall  not  inherit  the  kingdom  of  God  ; '  Eph.  v.  6, 
'  Because  of  these  things  cometh  the  wrath  of  God  upon  the  children 
of  disobedience.'  These  acts  are  so  contrary  to  grace,  that  no  debate 
needeth  be  about  them ;  either  they  are  not  consistent  with  sincerity, 
or  the  knowledge  of  it. 

2.  They  live  not  in  any  sin  against  knowledge  and  conscience  ;  for 
indulgently  and  deliberately  to  run  into  any  sin  cloudeth  the  knowledge 
of  our  sincerity,  for  that  argueth  the  reign  of  sin,  and  that  is  dangerous, 
Kom.  vi.  14 ;  and  therefore  we  need  watchfulness,  Eph.  v.  15,  and  much 
prayer,  Ps.  cxix.  133, 

3.  When  a  child  of  God  falleth  through  infirmity,  he  presently 
rallieth,  and  recovereth  himself  again  :  Jer.  viii.  4, '  Shall  they  fall,  and 
not  arise  ?  '     Surely  to  lie  in  the  dirt  argueth  obstinacy. 

4.  They  do  not  make  a  trade  or  course  of  sinning  and  repenting ; 
for  relapses  against  conscience  are  so  grievous  to  a  sincere  heart,  and 
repentance,  if  it  be  serious,  doth  so  wound  sin,  that  it  cannot  easily 
recover  life  and  strength :  Ps.  li.  6,  *  In  the  hidden  part  shalt  thou 
make  me  to  know  wisdom.' 

5.  It  neither  concerneth  the  duty  nor  peace  of  the  children  of  God 
to  omit  the  due  care  of  their  hearts  and  lives  when  they  come  near  a 
state  of  death,  and  thereby  render  their  condition  questionable,  lest 
they  seem  to  come  short,  Heb.  iv.  1  ;  and  Heb.  xii.  13,  'Make  straight 
steps  to  your  feet,  lest  that  which  is  lame  be  turned  out  of  the  way.' 
Anything  that  would  turn  us  out  of  the  course  of  our  obedience  to  God 
should  be  striven  against  and  watched  against  till  we  prevail.  It  will 
be  a  doubt,  if  not  a  wound  and  maim,  to  our  sincerity  :  therefore,  if  we 
be  not  known  by  avoiding  sin,  let  us  be  known  by  striving  against  it, 
and  prevailing  in  some  measure. 

Use  3.  Is  direction.  If  he  that  abideth  in  Christ  sinnetli  not,  then 
let  us  abide  in  Christ,  seek  after  union  and  communion  with  him,  be- 
cause tliere  is  our  security.  First,  If  we  abide  with  Christ,  he  will 
abide  with  us.  There  is  no  danger  of  breaking  on  his  part,  therefore 
we  are  so  often  called  upon  to  abide  in  him,  John  xvii.  Secondly, 
Apart  from  him  we  can  do  nothing,  John  xv.  5.     Thirdly,  In  him 

VeR.  6.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  31 

you  may  bring  forth  fruit,  John  xv.  8.  Fourthly,  In  abiding  in 
liini  we  have  much  joy  and  comfort:  John  xv.  10,  11,  *If  ye  keep 
my  commandments,  ye  shall  abide  in  my  love,  as  I  have  kept  my 
Father's  commandments,  and  abode  in  his  love.  These  things  have  I 
spoken  unto  you,  that  my  joy  might  remain  in  you,  and  your  joy  might 
be  full.'  The  Lord's  supper  was  appointed  to  represent  and  seal  this 
union  :  1  Cor.  x.  16,  it  is  called,  '  The  cup  of  blessing,'  &c.  There  we 
come  to  eat  his  flesh  and  drink  his  blood,  and  to  be  joined  to  the  Lord 
60  as  to  become  one  spirit.  Since  Christ  calleth  the  bread  his  body  and 
the  wine  his  blood,  these  outward  things  are  signs  to  put  you  in  remem- 
brance, and  seals  to  put  you  in  possession  of  Christ,  whose  flesh  you  eat 
and  blood  you  drink,  that  you  may  live  by  him ;  not  with  your  mouth, 
that  were  to  think  carnally  of  heavenly  mysteries  ;  as  Nicodemus,  when 
told  of  being  born  again,  thought  that  a  man  must  enter  the  second 
time  into  his  mother's  womb ;  or  as  the  Capernaites  said,  John  vi.  59. 
'  How  can  this  man  give  us  his  flesh  to  eat  ? '  No ;  the  eating  and 
drinking  must  be  answerable  to  the  hungering  and  thirsting ;  now  that 
is  not  carnal,  but  spiritual.  We  nuist  solemnly  receive  Christ  into  our 
heart,  that  he  may  dwell  there.  Oh,  then,  own  Christ  as  your  Lord, 
devote  yourselves  to  him :  2  Chron.  xxx.  8,  '  Yield  yourselves  to  the 
Lord.'  Heartily,  sincerely  resolve  to  be  Christ's,  and  he  will  be  yours. 
2d  Point.  That  no  sight  and  knowledge  of  Christ  is  saving  and 
effectual  but  what  checketh  sin  and  hindereth  the  life  of  it. 
There  is  a  twofold  knowledge — speculative  and  practical. 
1.  Knowledge  speculative,  which  is  nothing  else  but  a  naked  map 
and  model  of  divine  truths.  The  Jew  had  his  form  of  knowledge  in 
the  law,  Rom.  ii.  20.  So  the  speculative  christian  has  a  form  of  god- 
liness, 2  Tim.  iii.  5,  a  scheme  and  delineation  of  gospel  truths.  There 
are  different  degrees  of  this. 

[1.]  A  memorative  knowledge,  such  as  children  have  when  the  field 
of  memoiy  is  planted  with  the  seed  of  christian  doctrine.  Children 
are  taught  to  speak  of  divine  mysteries  by  rote,  such  as  God,  Christ. 
heaven,  hell,  sin,  righteousness  ;  as  the  philosopher  observed  of  young 
men,  that  they  learned  the  mathematics  with  all  their  hearts  and  minds, 
but  moral  things  tliey  only  said  them  over,  rather  rehearsed  and  said 
after  another,  than  believed  them.  Children  answer  you  the  words  of 
the  catechism,  but  they  heed  not  what  they  say,  nor  understand 
not  whereof  they  affirm  ;  but  it  is  good  that  children  should  learn 
divine  things,  and  after  be  further  instructed  in  the  nature  and  cer- 
tainty of  them,  Luke  i.  5. 

[2.]  Another  degree  above  this  is  opinionative  knowledge,  when  they 
do  not  only  charge  their  memories,  but  exercise  a  kind  of  conscience 
and  judgment  about  these  things,  so  as  to  be  orthodox  and  right  in 
opinion,  and  to  bustle  and  contend  about  that  way  of  religion  wherein 
they  have  been  educated,  or  that  which  suiteth  best  with  their  fancies 
antl  interests  ;  yet  wisdom  entereth  not  upon  the  heart,  I'rov.  ii.  10. 
This  inaketh  men  hot  disputers,  but  cold  practisers  of  godliness;  they 
have  a  religion  to  talk  of,  but  not  to  live  by  ;  they  mny  know  much 
of  religion  in  the  notion,  and  it  may  be  more  accurately  than  the 
serious  christian.  As  a  vintner's  cellar  may  be  better  stored  with  wines 
than  a  nobleman's,  but  he  hath  them  for  sale  and  not  for  use,  so  these 

32  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  X. 

may  form  llieir  notions  into  better  order  than  the  serious  godly  man. 
These  are  useful  in  the  church,  as  a  dead  post  may  support  a  living 
tree,  or  as  negroes  and  slaves  dig  in  the  mines  to  bring  up  gold  to 
others.  But  alas !  with  all  their  learning  they  may  be  thi-ust  into 
hell  :  '  They  received  not  the  love  of  the  truth,  whereby  they  might  be 

[3.]  There  is  a  higher  degree  of  speculative  knowledge  beyond  this, 
and  that  is,  when  men  have  some  kind  of  touch  upon  their  hearts,  but 
it  is  too  slender  and  insufficient  to  break  their  lusts  or  to  stand  out 
against  temptations. 

Use.  Well,  then,  let  us  seek  after  this  saving  knowledge,  to  see  and 
know  Christ  as  we  ought  to  know  and  see  him,  with  a  renewing,  trans- 
forming knowledge  :  Eph.  iii.  10,  '  And  that  ye  put  on  the  new  man, 
which  is  renewed  in  knowledge,  after  the  image  of  him  that  created 
him.'  It  is  but  hearsay  knowledge.  Think  every  notion  lost  that 
doth  not  invite  your  minds  to  the  saving  knowledge  of  Christ,  and 
secure  your  practice  against  error  and  temptations  ;  therefore  beg  the 
Spirit ;  he  teacheth  us  to  know  things  so  as  to  have  them  impressed 
upon  our  hearts :  Eph.  iv.  21,  22,  '  If  so  be  ye  have  heard  him,  and 
have  been  taught  by  him,  as  the  truth  is  in  Jesus :  that  ye  put  off, 
concerning  the  former  conversation,  the  old  man,  which  is  corrupt 
accordinq;  to  the  deceitful  lusts.' 


Little  children,  let  no  man  deceive  you :  he  that  doeth  righteousness  is 
righteous,  even  as  he  is  righteous. — 1  John  iii.  7. 

The  apostle  had  hitherto  reasoned  against  the  committing  of  sin  ;  lie 
now  persuadeth  them  to  the  contrary,  the  practice  of  holiness.  As 
there  is  a  positive  part  in  religion  as  well  as  a  privative,  so  a  bare 
abstinence  from  sin  is  not  enough,  but  we  must  also  exercise  ourselves 
unto  godliness,  or  walk  in  newness  of  life  :  '  Little  children,  let  no 
man  deceive  you,'  &c. 

In  the  whole  verse  observe  these  things — 

1.  A  caution  against  error. 

2.  A  description  of  a  righteous  man.  First,  He  is  described  by  his 
own  practice  ;  secondly,  By  his  confornjity  to  Christ :  '  Even  as  he  is 

Let  me  open  these  branches. 

1.  The  caution  against  error,  '  Little  children,  let  no  man  deceive 
you  ;'  this  is  premised,  because  such  mistakes  are  suited  to  the  corrupt 
heart  of  man  :  we  may  be  deceived  ourselves,  or  suffer  ourselves  to  be 
deceived  by  others. 

[1.]  That  we  may  not  deceive  ourselves  ;  frequent  warnings  are 
given  against  this  deceit:  1  Cor.  vi.  9,  'Be  not  deceived;  neither 
fornicators,  nor  idolaters,  nor  adulterers,  nor  thieves,  nor  covetous,  nor 

VeR.  7.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  33 

drunkards,  shall  inherit  the  kingdom  of  God;'  1  Cor.  xv.  33,  'Be 
not  deceived ;  evil  communication  corrupts  good  manners :  awake  to 
righteousness  and  sin  not.'  So  Gal.  vi.  7,  '  IBe  not  deceived,  God  is 
not  mocked ;  for  what  a  man  soweth,  that  shall  he  reap.'  Once  more, 
Eph.  V.  6,  '  Let  no  man  deceive  you  with  vain  words ;  for  hecause 
of  these  things  cometli  the  wrath  of  God  upon  the  children  of  dis- 

[2.J  Not  deceived  by  others.  There  were  false  teachers  in  the 
apostle's  days,  that  said  a  man  might  be  righteous  and  yet  live  in  sin. 
Simon  Magus  taught  that  bare  profession  of  faith,  without  a  strict 
life,  was  enough  to  salvation,  which  poison  was  also  sucked  up  by 
others,  the  Basil  ides  and  the  Gnostics. 

2.  The  description  of  a  righteous  man ;  he  is  described — (1.)  By 
his  ordinary  practice ;  (2.)  By  his  conformity  to  Christ. 

First,  By  his  ordinary  practice :  '  He  tliat  doetli  righteousness  is 
righteous.'     In  which  proposition  there  is — 

1.  The  subject,  '  He  that  doeth  righteousness.'  This  needeth  to  be 
explained,  because  many  boasted  that  they  were  righteous  who  yet  did 
not  live  righteously. 

Here  I  shall  inquire — (1.)  What  is  righteousness;  (2.)  What  it  is 
to  do  righteousness. 

[1.]  What  is  righteousness  ?  Kighteousness  is  sometimes  taken 
strictly  for  that  grace  which  inclineth  us  to  perform  our  duty  to  man, 
with  all  the  acts  and  duties  thereunto  belonging.  So  Eph.  iv.  24, 
'  The  new  man  is  created  after  God  in  righteousness  and  true  holi- 
ness ; '  where  righteousness  referreth  to  man,  holiness  to  God :  Luke 
i.  75,  'In  holiness  and  righteousness  before  him  all  the  days  of  our 
life  ;'  where  there  is  the  same  reference.  So  1  Tim.  vi,  11,  'Follow 
after  righteousness,  godliness.'  Which  words  comprise  the  duties  of 
the  fii-st  and  second  table.  Sometimes  more  largely  for  all  newness  of 
life,  or  all  those  holy  actions  which  are  required  of  a  christian.  So 
Mat.  iii.  15,  *  It  behoveth  me  to  fulfil  all  righteousness ; '  that  is-, 
whatsoever  is  required  by  the  law  or  commanded  by  God.  In  this 
large  sense  it  is  taken  here. 

[2.]  What  it  is  to  do  righteousness.  It  is  to  love  righteousness,  or 
to  carry  on  a  constant  tenor  of  all  holy  and  righteous  actions  ;  for  to 
do  righteousness  is  opposed  to  committing  sin  ;  therefore  it  supposeth 
us  to  lead  a  godly  and  righteous  life,  or  that  we  exercise  ourselves 
unto  and  be  fruitful  in  all  good  works. 

2.  For  the  predicate,  '  Is  righteous.'  Here  we  must  inquire  in 
what  notion  the  term  '  righteousness '  is  used ;  for  a  man  may  be  said 
to  be  righteous  in  a  twofold  respect — either  with  respect  to  sanctifica- 
tion  or  justification.  In  the  first  sense  it  is  taken  morally  for  an 
upright  disposition  of  heart  and  mind ;  in  the  second  sense,  legally 
and  judicially,  for  a  state  of  acceptation,  or  the  ground  of  a  plea 
before  the  tribunal  of  God. 

[1.]  The  righteousness  of  sanctification,  '  He  is  righteous ; '  that  is» 
a  holy  and  upright  man :  1  Peter  iii.  12,  '  The  eyes  of  the  Lord  are 
towards  the  righteous ; '  1  Peter  iv.  18,  '  If  the  righteous  be  scarcely 
paved;'  2  Peter  ii.  7,  8,  'He  delivered  righteous  Lot;'  and  again^ 
'  that  righteous  maa  vexed  his  righteous  soul.' 

VOL.  XX  r.  C 

34  SERMONS  UrON  1  JOHN  III,  [Ser.  XL 

[2.]  Righteousness  is  taken  for  a  forensical  or  court  righteousness, 
as  it  belongeth  to  justification:  Eom.  v.  19,  'As  by  one  man's  dis- 
obedience many  were  made  sinners,  so  by  the  obedience  of  one  many 
shall  be  made  righteous;'  that  is,  deemed  as  such,  counted  as  such, 
rewarded  as  such.  Now  the  question  is,  which  of  these  senses  is  to  be 
chosen  here.  For  the  first,  the  case  is  clear,  that  a  holy  and  upright 
man  is  known  by  his  holy  and  righteous  ways  and  actions,  or  he 
showeth  the  truth  of  his  regeneration  by  his  godly  life,  1  John  ii.  29. 
In  the  close  of  the  former  chapter,  which  is  the  beginning  of  this 
whole  discourse,  the  apostle  said,  '  If  ye  know  that  he  is  righteous ; 
every  man  that  doeth  righteousness  is  born  of  hira.'  But  for  the 
second  sense,  as  the  term  'righteous'  respecteth  justification,  I  cannot 
see  why  it  should  be  excluded;  for  the  sanctified  are  also  justified; 
and  what  a  respect  and  subordination  there  is  of  the  moral  righteous- 
ness to  the  judicial,  we  shall  see  by  and  by.  Certainly  these  are 
deemed  by  God,  accepted  by  God,  rewarded  by  God  as  righteous, 
Mark  but  these  two  scriptures,  Luke  i.  6,  where  it  is  said  of  Zachary 
and  Elizabeth,  that  '  they  were  both  righteous  before  God,  walking  in 
all  the  ordinances  and  commandments  of  the  Lord  blameless/  Mark, 
that  they  having  their  conversations  without  blame,  tiiey  were  right- 
eous, and  righteous  before  God.  So  Acts  x.  35,  '  He  that  feareth  God 
and  worketh  righteousness  is  accepted  with  him.'  There  the  right- 
eousness is  one  ground  of  acceptation  with  God. 

Secondly,  By  his  conformity  to  Christ,  '  As  he  was  righteous.'  He 
was  righteous  in  his  nature  and  practice,  for  he  obeyed  God  perfectly, 
and  ever  did  the  things  that  pleased  God :  Heb.  i.  9,  '  Thou  hast  loved 
righteousness,  and  hated  iniquity ;  and  therefore  God,  even  thy  God, 
hath  anointed  thee  with  the  oil  of  gladness  above  thy  fellows.'  Christ's 
doing  righteousness  is  said  to  be  righteous.  Now  when  christians  do 
so,  they  resemble  Christ,  and  are  like  him,  though  not  equal  with 
him  ;  so  are  the  children  of  God,  who  are  adopted  into  his  family, 
which  is  the  thing  the  context  laboureth  to  prove. 

Doct.  That  he,  and  he  only,  who  doeth  righteousness,  is  the  chris- 
tian righteous  man,  and  as  such  is  accepted  by  God, 

I  shall  prove  it  by  the  two  former  acceptations  of  righteousness. 

I.  In  the  way  of  sanctification,  he,  and  he  only,  is  the  upright 
gospel  christian  that  doeth  righteousness. 

1.  Because  this  is  the  great  end  wherefore  God  changeth  his  heart, 
and  infuseth  grace  into  him  ;  not  barely  that  he  may  have  it,  but  use 
it,  and  live  by  it ;  it  is  a  talent,  the  choicest  talent  wherewith  the 
sons  of  men  are  intrusted :  Gal.  v.  25,  *  If  ye  live  in  the  Spirit,  walk 
in  the  Spirit.'  Surely  where  there  is  life  there  must  be  actions  suit- 
able ;  and  if  there  be  a  spiritual  life,  there  must  be  a  spiritual  walking: 
this  gift  is  not  given  in  vain.  When  Christ  speaketh  of  giving  the 
Spirit,  John  iv.  14,  he  saith,  that  '  the  water  that  I  shall  give  him 
shall  be  a  well  of  water  springing  up  into  everlasting  life ; '  and 
John  vii.  38,  '  Out  of  his  belly  shall  flow  rivers  of  living  water.'  The 
Spirit  is  given  in  order  to  action.  A  christian  is  not  to  keep  his 
graces  to  himself,  to  fold  up  his  talent  in  a  napkin ;  this  water  is  a 
living  spring,  always  springing  up;  tliis  conduit  is  so  filled  that  it 
must  burst  or  flow  forth ;  and  the  grace  that  is  in  his  heart  is  always 

VifiU.  7.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  35 

to  be  in  act  and  exercise.  The  apostle  telleth  us,  Rom.  vi,  4,  that 
we  are  raised  up  with  Christ  by  the  mighty  power  of  God,  that  we 
should  walk  in  newness  of  life ;  not  to  lie  idle  and  still,  but  to  walk, 
and  to  walk  as  becometh  those  who  have  a  new  and  holy  nature. 

2.  Grace  is  of  such  an  operative  and  vigorous  nature,  that  where  it 
is  really  planted  and  rooted,  it  cannot  be  idle  in  the  soul,  but  will  be 
breaking  out  into  action  ;  as  sin  is  not  a  sluggish  idle  quality,  but 
always  working  and  warring :  '  Sin  wrought  in  me  all  manner  of  con- 
cupiscence,' saitli  tlie  apostle ;  '  And  I  see  a  law  in  ray  members, 
warring  against  a  law  in  my  mind,'  Rom.  vii.  23.  The  habit  of  sin, 
though  it  be  not  peccatum  actuale,  yet  it  is  actuosum.  So  grace  puts 
forth  suitable  operations  :  2  Peter  i.  8,  '  If  these  things  be  in  you,  and 
abound,  they  make  you  that  ye  shall  not  be  barren  nor  unfruitful  in 
the  knowledge  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.'  Where  graces  are  in  any 
good  degree  of  life  and  strength,  there  a  christian  cannot  be  lazy,  but 
his  conversation  will  be  fruitful.  Grace  will  not  let  a  man  alone  ;  he 
shall  have  no  rest  and  quiet  within  himself  unless  he  both  busy  and 
employ  himself  for  God.  Faith  will  show  itself  in  an  open  and  free 
profession  of  Christ,  both  in  word  and  deed  :  2  Cor.  iv.  12,  '  We  having 
the  same  spirit  of  faith,  believe,  and  therefore  speak.'  A  spirit  of  faith 
cannot  be  suppressed,  neither  can  the  work  of  faith,  1  Thes.  i.  3. 
Hope  is  a  lively  liope,  1  Peter  i.  3  ;  and  love  hath  a  constraining  force 
and  efficacy,  2  Cor.  v.  14.  Men  cannot  hide  their  love,  no  more  than 
fire  can  be  hidden.  Graces  suffer  a  kind  of  imperfection  till  they  pro- 
duce their  consummate  act :  1  John  ii.  5,  '  But  whoso  keepetii  his  word, 
in  him  verily  is  the  love  of  God  perfected.'  Well,  then,  a  christian  is 
not  to  be  valued  by  dead  and  useless  habits,  but  opeiative  graces.  In 
vain  do  men  persuade  themselves  that  they  have  righteousness  buried 
and  sown  in  their  hearts,  when  unrighteousness  wholly  possesseth  their 
hands,  minds,  eyes,  and  fioweth  forth  into  their  actions. 

3.  We  have  no  way  to  distinguish  ourselves  from  hypocrites  but  by 
performing  actions  which  become  real  converts.  When  John  sus- 
pected the  scribes  and  pharisees,  on  their  submitting  to  his  baptism,  he 
presseth  them  to  evidence  their  sincerity  by  a  suitable  conversation : 
Mat.  iii.  8,  '  Bring  forth  fruits  meet  for  repentance  ; '  and  the  apostle 
persuadeth  the  gentiles  to  repent  and  turn  to  God,  and  do  works  meet 
for  repentance.  Acts  xxvi.  20.  Call  them  works,  or  call  them  fruits, 
they  must  be  such  acts  as  become  the  change  wrought  in  us.  The  new 
heart  is  known  by  newness  of  conversation,  and  a  change  of  heart  by  a 
change  of  life.  Repentance  is  an  inward  thing,  but  the  fruits  appear 
outwardly  in  our  actions ;  the  sap  is  not  seen,  but  the  apples  appear. 
Our  dedication  is  known  by  our  use,  our  choice  by  our  course,  and  our 
resolution  by  our  practice.  Acts  discover  the  habits,  and  what  we  do 
constantly,  frequently,  ea.sily,  showeth  the  tem{)er  of  the  heart.  It  is 
true  God  chieHy  requireth  truth  in  the  inward  parts,  without  which 
all  external  holiness  is  but  a  mere  show,  and  loathsome  to  him  ;  yet 
none  should  flatter  themselves  with  that  holiness  which  tliey  imagine 
t(»  have  within,  unless  the  fruits  of  it  appear  without,  and  they  labour 
to  manifest  it  in  their  daily  carriage  and  course  of  life.  If  a  candle  in 
a  lanthorn  be  lighted,  it  will  not  be  confined  there,  but  shine  forth  ; 
so  if  there  be  grace  in  the  heart,  it  must  show  itself  by  all  holy  con- 

36  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XI. 

versation  and  godliness.  V/e  judge  of  others  by  their  external  works, 
for  the  tree  is  known  by  its  fruits,  and  we  judge  of  ourselves  by  internal 
and  external  works  together.  If  there  be  a  principle  of  grace  within, 
there  will  be  a  love  of  God,  and  a  hatred  of  evil,  and  a  delight  in  holi- 
ness, and  a  deep  sense  of  the  world  to  come  ;  and  all  this  be  discovered 
in  a  holy  and  heavenly  conversation  without.  Then  this  completeth 
the  evidence,  and  breedeth  in  us  the  testimony  of  a  good  conscience : 
2  Cor.  i.  12,  '  For  our  rejoicing  is  this,  the  testimony  of  our  conscience, 
that,  in  simplicity  and  godly  sincerity,  we  have  had  our  conversation 
in  the  world ; '  Heb.  xiii.  18,  '  For  we  trust  we  have  a  good  conscience, 
in  all  things  willing  to  live  honestly.'  If  a  man  would  make  a  judg- 
ment of  his  own  estate,  he  must  take  a  view  of  his  obedience  and  daily 
carriage  towards  God.  If  there  be  a  course  of  close  walking,  and  the 
main  endeavour  be  to  please  him,  we  may  take  comfort  in  it,  and  it 
will  make  up  an  evidence  in  the  court  of  conscience. 

4.  It  is  for  the  honour  of  God  that  those  which  live  by  him  should 
live  to  him,  and,  when  he  hath  formed  a  holy  and  righteous  people  for 
himself,  they  should  glorify  him  by  doing  righteousness.  We  are  as 
new  creatures,  to  bring  forth  fruit  unto  God  :  John  xv.  8,  '  Herein  is 
my  Father  glorified,  that  ye  bear  much  fruit ; '  Ps.  xi.  7,  '  For  the 
righteous  Lord  lovetli  righteousness,  his  countenance  doth  behold  the 
upright ;'  2  Thes.  i.  11,  12,  '  Wherefore  also  we  pray  always  for  you, 
that  our  God  would  count  you  worthy  of  this  calling,  and  fulfil  all  the 
good  pleasure  of  his  goodness,  and  the  work  of  faith  with  power  ;  that 
the  name  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  may  be  glorified  in  you.'  By 
internal  grace  we  approve  ourselves  unto  God,  by  external  holiness  we 
glorify  him  in  the  world.  With  respect  to  God's  approbation  we  must 
be  righteous ;  with  respect  to  God's  honour  we  must  do  righteousness, 
that  so  we  may  bring  him  into  request  in  the  world.  He  is  concerned 
much  in  our  answerable  or  unanswerable  walking. 

II.  He  that  doeth  righteousness  is  righteous  with  the  righteousness 
of  justification.  This  seemeth  the  harder  and  more  difficult  task,  but 
to  a  considering  and  unbiassed  mind  all  is  easy,  and  to  him  that  will 
be  determined  in  his  opinions  by  the  word  of  God  or  the  gospel  of  our 
Lord.  Therefore,  for  more  distinctness'  sake,  I  shall  show  you — (1.) 
What  is  the  righteousness  of  justification  ;  (2.)  What  respect  the  holy 
life  hath  to  it. 

First,  What  is  the  righteousness  Of  justification  ?  It  may  be  inter- 
preted either  with  respect  to  the  precept  or  sanction  of  the  law. 

1.  With  respect  to  the  precept  of  the  law,  and  so  the  legal  righteous- 
ness is  opposite  to  reatus  culpce,  to  the  fault ;  and  so,  if  it  were  possible, 
we  may  say  that  he  that  fulfiUeth  the  law  is  righteous  ;  that  is,  he  is 
not  faulty  ;  but  alas  !  we  are  all  sinners.  But,  however,  suppose  it  for 
method's  sake,  as  the  apostle  doth ;  so  it  is  said,  Kom.  ii.  13,  '  Not  the 
hearers  of  the  law  are  just  before  God,  but  the  doers  of  the  law  shall 
be  justified.'  That  is  a  truth  if  it  is  rightly  understood  ;  but  then  the 
law  may  be  fulfilled  either  in  the  sense  of  the  covenant  of  works  or  in 
the  sense  of  the  covenant  of  grace. 

[1.]  In  the  sense  of  the  covenant  of  works.  A  man  that  exactly 
fulfilleth  the  law  in  every  point  and  tittle,  without  the  least  alteration 
and  swerving,  is  righteous ;  but  this  is  impossible  to  the  fallen  crea- 

VeR.  7.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III,  37" 

tiire:  '  Therefore  by  the  deeds  of  the  law  shall  no  flesh  be  justified  in 
his  sight,'  Rom.  iii.  20 ;  and  Gal.  iii.  21,  22,  '  If  there  had  been  a  law 
given  which  could  have  given  life,  verily  righteousness  had  been  by  the 
law.  But  the  scripture  hath  concluded  all  under  sin,  that  the  promise 
by  faith  in  Jesus  Ciirist  might  be  given  to  them  that  believe.'     But — 

[2.]  With  respect  to  the  law  of  grace.  May  not  the  precept  be  said 
to  be  obeyed,  not  perfectly,  but  sincerely  ?  And  if  so,  what  hindereth 
but  he  that  doeth  righteousness  is  righteous?  that  is,  evangelically 
justified  and  accepted  by  God,  as  one  that  hath  kept  the  law  of  grace. 
I  know  no  incongruity  in  this ;  yea,  I  see  an  absolute  scriptural  cer- 
tainty in  this  doctrine,  if  the  world  would  receive  it,  and  determine 
their  opinions  by  the  simplicity  of  the  gospel,  rather  than  by  the  dic- 
tates of  any  faction  which  the  late  janglings  of  too  many  in  Christendom 
have  pi-oduced.  Indeed,  I  know  no  other  way  how  to  reconcile  the 
two  apostles  Paul  and  James.  Paul  saith,  'We  are  justified  by  faith, 
without  the  works  of  the  law;'  and  James,  that  '  we  are  justified  by 
works,  and  not  by  faith  only,'  Justification  hath  respect  to  some 
accusation.  Now,  as  there  is  a  twofold  law,  there  is  a  twofold  accusa- 
tion, and  so  by  consequence  a  twofold  justification — by  the  law  of  works 
and  the  law  of  grace.  As  we  are  accused  as  breakers  of  the  law  of 
works,  that  is,  as  sinners,  obnoxious  to  the  wrath  of  God,  they  plead 
Christ's  satisfaction  as  our  righteousness  apprehended  and  applied  by 
faith,  not  by  works  of  our  own  ;  but  as  we  are  accused  as  breakers  of 
the  law  of  grace,  that  is,  as  rejecters  or  neglecters  at  least  of  Christ 
and  his  renewing  and  reconciling  grace,  we  are  approved,  accepted  as 
righteous,  by  producing  our  faith  and  new  obedience,  for  thereby  we 
prove  it  to  be  a  false  charge ;  and  though  we  cannot  plead  as  innocent, 
yet  we  may  plead  as  sincere ;  and  so  it  is  said.  Mat.  xii.  37,  '  By  thy 
words  shalt  thou  be  justified,  and  by  thy  words  shalt  thou  be  con- 
demned ; '  and  James  ii.  12,  '  So  speak  ye,  and  so  do,  as  they  that 
shall  be  judged  by  the  law  of  liberty.'  But  I  have  interposed  my 
judgment  too  soon,  before  I  have  further  cleared  up  matters:  all  that 
I  desire  now  is  this,  that  this  notion  may  be  marked.  Eighteousness 
consists  in  keeping  the  law,  for  the  law  of  grace  maybe  kept,  and  some 
plea  must  be  made  thence,  or  we  are  undone  for  ever. 

2.  Righteousness  may  be  interpreted  with  respect  to  the  sanction, 
which  is  twofold — the  threatening  and  the  promise. 

[1.]  With  respect  to  the  threatening,  and  so  righteousness  is  opposite 
to  the  reatus  poence,  the  guilt  or  obligation  to  punishment;  and  so  a 
man  is  said  to  be  righteous  when  he  is  freed  from  the  external  punish- 
ment threatened  by  God,  and  due  to  him  as  a  breaker  of  the  law. 
To  this  end  observe  that  place,  Rom.  i.  16-18,  '  I  am  not  ashamed  of 
the  gospel  of  Christ ;  for  therein  is  the  righteousness  of  God  revealed 
from  faith  to  faith.  For  the  wrath  of  God  is  revealed  from  heaven 
against  all  ungodliness  and  unrighteousness  of  men.'  Mark,  there  are 
two  revelations  which  are  opposed  to  each  other;  there  is  the  law 
covenant,  in  which  the  wrath  of  God  is  revealed,  and  the  gospel  cove- 
nant, in  which  the  righteousness  of  God  is  revealed,  or  the  way  to 
escape  that  wrath.  In  the  law,  the  wrath  of  God  is  revealed  and 
denoimced  against  those  that  have  broken  it ;  and  broken  it  we  have 
in  every  table  by  our  ungodliness  and  unrighteousness,  yea,  in  every 

38  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  ni.  [Ser.  XI. 

point  and  tittle ;  yet  the  law  of  grace  or  of  faith  hath  appointed  us  a 
remedy  in  Christ  how  we  may  be  righteous,  and  freed  from  this  wrath 
and  vengeance  by  him,  by  the  righteousness  of  God,  or  of  Christ 
revealed  by  faith.  And  more  particularly  in  the  commination  and 
threatening  two  things  are  considerable — the  sentence  and  execution, 

(1.)  As  the  commination  importeth  a  sentence  or  respects  a  sentence, 
so  we  are  justified  or  made  righteous  when  we  are  not  liable  to  con- 
demnation:  Rom.  V.  18,  'As  by  the  offence  of  one  judgment  came 
upon  all  to  condemnation,  so  by  the  righteousness  of  one  the  free  gift 
-came  upon  all  to  the  justification  of  life.'  Now  who  are  made  partakers 
of  this  privilege  ?  Surely  the  penitent  believer  ;  that  is  his  first  quali- 
fication :  John  V.  24,  '  He  that  believeth  in  Christ  shall  not  come  into 
condemnation.'  And  new  obedience  is  also  considered  :  Rom.  viii.  1, 
'There  is  no  condemnation  to  them' who  live  a  holy  and  godly  life,' who 
walk  not  after  the  flesh,  but  after  the  Spirit/  So  that  it  may  be  said, 
,he  that  doeth  righteousness  is  righteous,  hath  an  interest  in  Christ,  is 
.not  subject  to  condemnation. 

(2.)  As  the  commination  respects  execution,  so  to  be  justified  or 
made  righteous  is  not  to  be  liable  to  punishment,  or  not  to  be  punished  ; 
so  the  apostle  saith,  Rom.  v.  9,  '  Being  justified  by  his  blood,  we  shall 
•be  saved  from  wrath  through  him.'  The  penalty  is  remitted  and  taken 
off.  Thus  is  the  godly  upright  man  justified  also,  for  in  the  last 
judgment  it  is  said,  Mat.  xxv.  46, '  These  shall  go  away  into  everlasting 
punishment,  but  the  righteous  into  life  eternal.'  And  the  righteous 
there  are  such  as  do  righteousness,  or  are  fruitful  in  good  works  ;  these 
are  not  punished,  but  rewarded. 

[2.]  We  come  now  to  the  other  part  of  the  sanction  or  the  promise ; 
and  so  our  judicial  and  legal  righteousness,  with  respect  to  it,  is  nothing 
but  our  right  to  the  reward,  gift,  or  benefit,  founded  not  in  any  merit 
of  our  own,  but  only  in  the  free  gift  of  Christ ;  partly  in  the  merit  of 
another,  the  free  gift  of  God,  and  the  merit  of  Jesus  Christ.  So  they 
are  said  to  be  justified  and  made  righteous  who  have  a  title  to  eternal 
life  :  Rom.  v.  18,  'By  the  righteousness  of  one,  the  free  gift  came  upon 
all  to  the  justification  of  life;'  Titus  iii.  7,  '  Being  justified  by  his  grace, 
we  are  made  heirs  according  to  the  hope  of  eternal  life.'  Now  who 
have  a  right  but  they  that  do  righteousness,  and  therefore  are  righteous 
in  the  justifying  sense?  Rev.  xxii.  14,  'Blessed  are  they  that  do  his 
commandments,  that  they  may  have  right  to  the  tree  of  life.'  The 
same  light  that  believers  have  to  their  adoption,  John  i.  12.  Well, 
then,  the  privilege  of  them  that  do  righteousness  is  not  inconsiderable, 
or  a  matter  of  small  moment;  our  whole  welfare  and  happiness 
dependeth  on  it,  our  freedom  from  the  curse  and  title  to  glory.  It  is 
sucii  a  righteousness  as  exempts  them  from  the  present  condemnation  ; 
and  at  length,  when  others  are  doomed  to  everlasting  destruction,  they 
shall  be  accepted  to  eternal  life. 

Secondly,  What  respect  hath  holiness  to  this  being  righteous  ? 

1.  All  will  grant  it  to  be  a  predication  of  the  adjunct  concerning  the 
subject,  or  a  sign  concerning  the  signation  of  the  thing  signed.  It  is 
if  any  man  work  righteousness,  it  is  a  sign  and  evidence  that  he  is 
righteous,  that  he  is  one  of  those  who  are  justified  and  accepted  of 
God  ;  and  so  they  think  the  justified  man  is  described  by  his  insepar- 

VeR.  7.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  39 

able  property,  the  practice  of  holiness,  or  doing  righteousness.  I  refuse 
not  this,  for  tliis  includeth  all  the  justified,  and  excludeth  all  the 
Avorkeis  of  iniquity;  and  this  well  followed  will  engage  us  more  to  the 
fear  of  God  and  working  of  righteousness  than  we  usually  mind  and 
regard  ;  for  would  you  know  that  you  are  exempted  from  condemnation, 
and  appointed  unto  life  by  Christ  ?  You  can  never  be  clear  in  it  till 
your  faith  be  warranted  by  3'our  holiness.  It  is  said  in  one  place, 
that  '  God  hath  no  pleasure  in  the  workers  of  iniquity,'  Ps.  Iv.  5,  and 
in  another,  Ps.  xi.  7, '  The  righteous  Lord  loveth  the  righteous.'  These 
are  those  he  approveth,  accepteth,  delighteth  in,  and,  finally,  whom  he 
will  take  home  to  himself 

2.  But  there  is  more  than  a  sign  ;  it  is  a  condition  of  our  right  and 
interest  in  Christ's  righteousness,  and  the  consequent  benefits  thereof 
Our  qualification  is  a  part  of  our  plea  that  we  are  sound  believers.  To 
understand  this,  let  me  tell  you  that  the  righteousness  of  the  new 
covenant  is  either  supreme  and  chief,  and  that  is  the  righteousness  of 
Christ,  or  secondary  and  subordinate,  the  righteousness  of  faith  and 
obedience.  As  to  the  first,  a  right  faith ;  as  to  the  second,  a  continued 
obedience  is  required. 

[1  ]  The  supreme  principal  righteousness,  by  virtue  of  which  we  are 
reconciled  to  God,  is  Christ's  obedience  unto  death  :  Rom.  v.  19,  '  By 
the  obedience  of  one  many  shall  be  made  righteous.'  This  is  our  great 
righteousness,  by  which  the  wrath  of  God  is  appeased,  his  justice 
satisfied,  by  the  merit  of  which  all  the  blessings  of  the  new  covenant 
are  secured  to  us. 

[2.]  The  subordinate  righteousness,  or  the  condition  by  which  we 
get  an  interest  in  and  right  to  this  su[)reme  righteousness,  is  faith  and 
new  obedience  ;  but  for  a  distinct  use,  as  to  our  first  entrance  into  the 
covenant  of  God,  faith  is  required :  Eom.  iv.  3,  '  Abraham  believed 
God,  and  it  was  counted  to  him  for  righteousness.'  As  to  our  continu- 
ance in  this  blessed  privilege,  new  obedience  is  required  ;  for  it  is  said, 
'  He  that  doeth  righteousness  is  righteous.'  Thereby  his  interest  in 
Christ  is  confirmed  and  continued.  Our  first  and  supreme  righteousness 
consisteth  in  the  i)ardon  of  all  our  sins  for  Christ's  sake  :  Rom.  iii.  23, 
'Justified  freely  by  his  grace,  through  the  redemption  that  is  in  Christ;' 
and  we  are  '  accepted  in  the  Beloved,'  Eph.  i.  6,  and  by  him  have  a 
right  to  impunity  and  glory,  1  Thes.  i,  9,  10.  Our  second  and  subor- 
dinate righteousness  is  in  having  the  true  conditions  of  pardon  and  life. 
In  the  first  sense,  Christ's  righteousness  is  the  only  ground  of  our 
acceptance  with  God.  Faith,  repentance,  and  new  obedience  is  not 
Ihe  least  part  of  it.  But  in  the  second,  believing,  repenting,  obeying, 
is  our  righteousness  in  their  several  respective  ways,  namely,  that  the 
1  ighteousness  of  Christ  may  be  ours,  and  continue  ouis. 

Use  1.  Is  the  caution  of  the  text,  '  Let  no  man  deceive  you  ; '  nor 
do  you  deceive  yourselves  in  point  of  sin  or  righteousness. 

First,  Sin.  As  we  ai-e  pronely  bent  to  commit  sin,  so  we  are  apt  to 
seduce  our  hearts  by  many  pretences  to  continue  in  sin.  The  usiud 
deceits  are  these  three  :  that  sin  is  no  sin  ;  that  they  shall  escape  well 
enough  though  they  sin  ;  or  that  their  sins  are  but  petty  slips  or  human 

1.  Though  they  live  vainly  and  loosely,  yet  they  think  they  do  not 

40  SEUMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XL 

sin.  To  convince  these,  we  must  bring  them  to  consider  their  rule, 
their  end,  their  pattern.  Their  rule  is  the  law  or  word  of  God,  What ' 
live  in  a  state  of  vanity  under  this  strict  rule  ?  and  have  you  no  sins  to 
repent  of  and  reform  ?  Surely  men  are  strangers  to  the  law  of  God, 
otherwise  they  would  have  more  knowledge  of  sin.  David  having 
admired  first  the  beauty  of  the  sun,  the  light  of  the  visible  world,  then 
the  purity  and  perfection  of  the  law,  which  is  the  light  of  the  intellectual 
world,  ooncludeth  all  with  this  prayer  or  meditation,  Ps.  xix.  12, '  Who 
can  understand  his  errors  ?  cleanse  thou  me  from  secret  sins.'  But 
slight  and  careless  people,  that  the  ell  may  be  no  longer  than  the  cloth, 
make  a  short  exposition  of  the  law,  that  they  may  have  a  large  opinion 
of  their  own  righteousness,  and  so  live  a  carnal  life,  without  check  or 
restraint.  So  to  consider  their  great  end,  as  a  christian  should  do 
nothing  inconsistent  with  it,  so  not  impertinent  to  it ;  for  so  far  we  are 
out  of  the  way.  Consider  your  words  and  actions,  what  do  they  ? 
Alas  !  we  fill  up  our  lives  with  actions  that  are  a  mere  diversion  from 
our  great  end ;  this  will  make  them  serious,  for  a  man's  end  should  be 
known  all  the  way.  Then  for  his  pattein, '  He  that  doeth  righteousness 
is  righteous,  as  he  is  righteous.'  Is  this  life  you  lead  like  the  life  of 
Christ?  If  we  do  not  consider  our  pattern,  no  wonder  we  are  vain 
and  light  Tiie  efficacy  cometh  from  beholding,  2  Cor.  iii.  18,  or 
'  looking  unto  Jesus,'  Heb.  xii.  2. 

2.  That  they  shall  escape  the  judgment  though  they  live  in  sin. 
Though  it  be  as  plain  as  the  sunshine  at  noon-day,  that  they  that  live 
in  gross  sins  are  in  a  state  of  damnation,  yet  men  are  apt  to  delude 
their  own  souls,  thinking  they  may  be  saved,  notwithstanding  their 
profane  life,  with  a  little  general  profession  of  Christ,  and  a  formal  in- 
vocation of  his  name,  though  their  lives  tend  to  hell.  Oh,  no  !  '  Let 
every  one  that  nameth  the  name  of  Christ  depart  from  iniquity,'  2  Tim. 
ii.  19.  The  causes  of  this  presumption  are  non-attendance  to  or  non- 
application  of  scripture  threatenings:  'No  man  saith,  What  have  I 
done?'  Jer.  viii.  6.  Their  abuse  of  God's  patience,  and  transforming 
him  into  an  idol  of  their  own  fancy  :  Ps.  1.  21,  '  Thou  thoughtest  that 
I  was  altogether  such  a  one  as  thyself.'  No  ;  he  is  a  holy  and  jealous 
God.  Do  not  say  he  will  not  be  so  strict  and  severe.  It  is  an  abuse 
of  God's  mercy  to  say  his  patience  suflfereth  all  things,  and  his 
mercy  will  be  no  let  to  his  judgment:  Ps.  Ixviii.  19-21,  'But  our 
God  is  a  God  of  salvation,  yea>  our  God  is  a  God  of  salva- 
tion. But  he  will  wound  the  head  of  his  enemies,  and  the  hairy  scalp 
of  all  them  that  go  on  in  their  iniquities.'  Christ  came  to  save  sinners 
from  their  sins,  but  not  in  their  sins,  Mat.  i.  21.  So  they  abuse  the 
doctrine  of  justification.  Oh,  Christ  is  their  justification.  Ay  !  but 
you  must  mind  the  subordinate  righteousness  by  which  the  supreme 
righteousness  is  imputed  to  you  ;  and  where  Christ  is  made  unto  us 
righteousness,  he  is  also  made  to  you  sanctification,  1  Cor.  i.  30.  They 
believe  in  him,  but  true  faith  is  not  consistent  with  an  evil  and  sinful 
life,  for  it  purifieth  the  heart,  Acts  xv.  9.  These  are  some  of  the 
spiders'  webs  whereby  they  trust,  those  sorry  fig-leaves  wherewith  they 
hope  to  cover  themselves,  that  their  nakedness  do  not  appear,  those 
sandy  foundations  which  they  build  upon,  the  untempered  mortar 
which  they  daub  with. 

VeR.  7.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  41 

3.  That  their  sins  are  but  petty  sh'ps,  and  small  sins,  mere  human  in- 
firmities ;  that  no  man  can  be  perfect ;  that  the  purest  saints  have  fallen 
into  as  great  faults.  But  those  are  not  infirmities  which  you  indulge 
and  allow,  and  study  not  to  prevent  and  mortify,  or  retract  not  with 
grief  and  shame ;  besides,  infirmities  continued  in  prove  iniquities, 
which  by  their  frequent  lapses  are  rather  strengthened  than  weakened 
in  you. 

Secondly,  Let  no  man  deceive  you  in  point  of  righteousness,  'He 
that  doeth  righteousness  is  righteous.' 

1.  Not  he  that  heareth  and  talketh  of  it  only  doth  show  himself 
righteous ;  not  strict  opinions  with  licentious  practices ,  not  a  bare 
approbation,  not  approving  without  doing :  Luke  xi.  27,  28,  '  Yea, 
rather  blessed  are  they  that  hear  the  word  of  God  and  do  it.' 

2.  It  is  not  only  an  intention  of  mind  and  purpose.  No  ;  we  must 
actually  perform  the  will  of  God  :  '  He  that  doeth  righteousness  is 
righteous  ; '  Acts  xxvi.  20,  '  That  they  should  repent  and  turn  to  God, 
and  bring  forth  fruits  meet  for  repentance.'  Repentance  is  a  change 
of  mind,  but  there  must  be  works  meet. 

3.  Not  barely  good  desires.  Many  please  themselves  with  this,  that 
a  desire  of  living  holily  sufficeth.  No  ;  the  soul  of  the  sluggard  desir- 
eth,  and  hath  nothing.  It  is  not  he  that  desireth  to  be  righteous,  but 
doeth  righteousness  ;  sluggish  desires  are  easily  controlled.  Where  is 
the  effect,  the  pressing  towards  the  mark  ?  Phil.  iii.  14.  If  it  were 
strongl}'^,  seriously  desired,  we  would  address  ourselves  to  this  work, 
and  in  some  good  measure  prevail.  The  building  went  on  when  the 
people  had  a  mind  to  the  work,  Neh.  iv.  6. 

4.  It  is  not  doing  a  good  action  now  and  then,  butthroughout  our  whole 
course  ;  we  must  fear  God,  and  work  righteousness  :  Ps.  cvi.  3,  '  Blessed 
are  they  that  keep  judgment,  and  he  that  doeth  righteousness  at  all 
times  ; '  and  if  he  falleth,  he  returneth  by  a  speedy  repentance. 

Use  2.  Is  to  persuade  us  to  look  after  this  righteousness,  which  is 
the  drift  of  the  text.     To  this  end  consider — 

1.  We  shall  shortly  appear  before  the  tribunal  of  God,  where  every 
man's  qualification  shall  be  judged,  whether  he  be  righteous  or  un- 
righteous. How  soon  it  may  come  about  we  cannot  tell ;  this  day  sur- 
priseth  the  most  part  of  the  world,  and  taketh  them  unprovided.  The 
word  found  is  often  used  with  respect  to  this  day  :  2  Cor.  v.  3,  '  If  so 
be  we  shall  not  be  found  naked.'  2  Peter  iii.  14,  *  And  found  of  him 
in  peace;'  Phil.  iii.  9,  'And  be  found  in  him,  not  having  mine  own 

2.  For  God's  judgment;  nothing  but  God's  righteousness  will  serve 
the  turn.  The  law  which  condemneth  us  is  the  law  of  God  ;  the  wrath 
and  puni.shment  which  we  fear  is  the  wrath  of  God  ;  the  glory  which 
Ave  expect  is  the  glory  of  God  ;  the  presence  into  which  we  come  is 
the  presence  of  God  ;  and  therefore  the  righteousness  upon  which 
our  confidence  standeth  must  be  the  righteousness  of  God .  Rom.  iii. 
22,  *  Even  the  righteousness  of  God,  which  is  by  faith  in  Jesus  Christ, 
unto  all  and  upon  all  that  believe.'  That  which  God  hath  appointed, 
and  God  will  accept. 

3.  Tiie  righteousness  of  God  is  principally  the  death,  merit,  and  satis- 
faction of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ ;  for  it  is  said,  2  Cor.  v.  21,  '  He  was 

42  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XII. 

made  sin  for  ns,  who  knew  no  sin,  that  we  might  be  made  the  right- 
eousness of  God  in  him.' 

4.  None  have  the  benefit  of  tliis  righteousness  of  Christ  but  those 
that  believe  in  him  ;  for  the  righteousness  of  God  is  revealed  from 
faith  to  faith,  Rom.  i.  17.  Now  this  faith  is  nothing  else  but  a  broken- 
hearted and  thankful  acceptance  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  as  our  Lord 
and  Saviour. 

5.  None  have  this  faith  but  those  that  depend  upon  him  as  a  Saviour, 
and  give  up  themselves  with  a  hearty  consent  of  subjection  to  be  guided, 
ruled,  and  ordered  by  him  as  their  Lord.  For  dependence:  Eph.  i.  13, 
'  In  whom  ye  trusted,  after  ye  heard  the  word  of  truth,  the  gospel  ot 
your  salvation.'  Subjection :  Col.  ii.  6,  '  As  ye  have  received  Christ 
Jesus  the  Lord,  so  walk  ye  in  him.' 

6.  None  give  up  themselves  to  him  as  their  Lord  but  those  who 
make  it  their  scope  and  work  to  please,  glorify  and  enjoy  him  :  2  Cor. 
V.  9,  *  Wherefore  we  labour,  that,  whether  present  or  absent,  we  may  be 
accepted  of  him.'  None  but  those  that  purify  themselves  as  he  is  pure, 
and  are  righteous  as  he  is  righteous. 


He  that  committeth  sin  is  of  the  devil ;  for  the  devil  sinnethfrom  the 
beginning.  For  this  purpose  the  Son  of  God  luas  manifested, 
that  he  might  destroy  the  works  of  the  devil. — 1  John  iii.  8. 

Here  is  a  new  argument  against  living  in  sin,  backed  and  confirmed 
with  two  reasons.  The  argument  is,  that  they  who  live  in  sin  are  of 
the  devil ;  it  is  confirmed  with  two  reasons,  the  one  taken  from  the 
disposition  of  Satan,  tiie  otlier  from  the  design  of  Christ.  The  one 
proveth  the  thing  asserted,  the  other  showeth  the  detestableness  of  it. 
The  tiling  is  proved,  that  he  that  liveth  in  sin  belongeth  to  the  devil, 
'  For  the  devil  sinneth  from  the  beginning.'  The  other  showeth  how 
unbecoming  it  is  for  them  that  profess  tliemselves  christians  to  have 
the  gospel  in  their  mouths  and  the  devil  in  their  hearts.  In  short,  the 
one  reason  showeth  our  danger,  the  other  our  remedy  and  help ;  our 
danger,  '  The  devil  sinneth  from  the  beginning.'  It  is  his  work  to 
promote  sin  ;  he  doth  not  only  sin  himself,  but  instigateth  others  to  sin. 
Our  remedy  for  this  purpose,  '  The  Son  of  God  was  manifested,'  &c. 

There  is  a  double  argument  couched  in  it.  You  make  yourselves 
an  opposite  party  to  Christ,  and  so  build  again  what  he  came  to  destroy ; 
or  at  least  you  do  not  improve  the  help  and  remedy  offered.  Let  me 
open  these  things  more  particularly. 

1.  The  argument  itself,  '  He  that  committeth  sin  is  of  the  devil.' 
The  argument  is,  that  they  who  live  in  sin  are  so  far  from  being  the 
children  of  God,  that  they  are  the  children  of  the  devil ;  for  so  must 
that  'of  the  devil'  be  interpreted  ;  for  it  is  presently  added  in  the  10th 
verse, '  In  this  the  children  of  God  are  manifest,  and  the  children  of 

VeR.  8.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  43 

the  devil ; '  and  John  viii.  44,  '  Ye  are  of  your  father  the  devih'  Like- 
ness inferreth  relation  ;  as  he  that  first  inventeth,  teacheth,  or  per- 
fecteth  any  art,  is  called  the  father  of  it  or  them  that  use  it.  So 
Gen.  iv.  20,  21,  '  Jahal  was  the  father  of  them  that  dwell, in  tents,  and 
Jubal  the  father  of  such  as  handle  the  harp  and  the  organ.'  So  Satan  was 
the  inventor  of  sin,  and  the  beginner  of  sin  and  rebellion  against  God, 
and  therefore  the  father  of  sinners. 

2.  It  is  confirmed  with  reasons. 

[1.]  That  sin  entitleth  us  to  Satan,  and  showeth  our  cognation  and 
kindred  to  him,  and  confederacy  with  him  :  '  For  the  devil  sinneth 
from  the  beginning.'  The  devil  is  the  eldest  and  greatest  sinner,  who 
presently  sinned  upon  the  creation,  and  ever  since  is  the  grand  architect  of 
wickedness,  the  author  and  promoter  of  sin  among  men.  '  He  sinneth' 
noteth  a  continued  act;  he  never  ceaseth  to  sin.  He  was  created  good, 
but  kept  not  his  first  estate,  fell  betimes ;  and  having  given  himself 
over  to  sinning,  abideth  and  proceedeth  therein:  John  viii.  44,  'He 
was  a  murderer  from  the  beginning,  and  abode  not  in  the  truth  ; ' 
Jude  6,  *  The  angels  kept  not  their  first  estate,  but  left  their  own 

[2.]  That  to  belong  to  the  devil  misbecoraeth  christians,  and  should 
be  a  detestable  tiling  among  christians:  'For  this  purpose  the  Son  of 
God  was  manifested,  that  he  might  destroy  the  works  of  the  devil.' 
Where  observe — 

(1.)  The  way  the  Son  of  God  took  to  obviate  this  mischief,  '  For 
this  cause  the  Son  of  God  was  manifested.' 

(2.)  His  end  and  design  therein,  '  That  he  might  destroy  the  works 
of  the  devil.' 

(1.)  Tiie  way  the  Son  of  God  took  ;  he  was  manifested  in  our  flesh  : 
1  Tim.  iii.  16,  '  And  without  controversy,  great  is  the  mystery  of  god- 
liness:  God  was  manifest  in  the  flesh,  justified  in  the  Spirit,  seen  of 
angels,  ])reached  to  the  gentiles,  believed  on  in  the  world,  received  up 
into  gloiy  ; '  which  compriseth  all  the  acts  of  his  mediation  performed 
in  our  nature.-  God  had  foretold  in  the  first  gospel  that  ever  was 
preached  tiiat  'the  seed  of  the  woman  should  break  the  serpent's 
head/  Gen.  iii.  1.5 ;  that  in  our  nature,  which  was  so  soon  foiled  by 
Satan,  one  should  come  who  would  conquer  and  vanquish  him,  and 
introduce  a  love  and  care  of  holiness.  The  manifestation  of  the  Son  of 
God  in  the  work  of  redemption  doth  apparently  cross  and  counterwork 
Satan's  design,  which  was  first  to  dishonour  God  by  a  false  representa- 
tion, as  if  he  were  envious  of  man's  happiness.  Now  in  the  mystery 
of  our  redemption  God  is  wonderfully  magnified,  and  represented  as 
amiable  to  man  :  '  For  herein  God  commendeth  his  love  to  us,'  Rom. 
V.  8  ;  that  the  Son  of  man  appeared  for  our  relief,  and  died  for  our 
sins;  partly  to  advance  the  nature  of  man,  which  in  innocency  stood 
so  near  God.  Now  that  the  human  nature,  so  depiessed  and  abased 
by  the  malicious  suggestions  of  the  devil,  should  be  elevated  and 
advanced,  and  set  so  far  above  the  angelical  nature,  and  admitted  to 
dwell  wiih  God  in  a  personal  union  above  all  principalities  and  powers, 
Eph.  i.  20,  21,  surely  this  should  be  such  an  everlasting  obligation  upon 
us  to  adiiere  to  God  and  renounce  Satan,  that  his  counsels  and  sugges- 
tions should  no  more  have  place  with  us.     This  is  the  way  he  took. 

44  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XII. 

(2.)  The  end  and  desi(]:n, for  this  purpose,  'That  he  might  destroy 
the  works  of  the  devil/     Where  we  have  an  act  and  an  ohject. 

(1st.)  The  act,  to  destroy.  The  word  signifieth  also  to  dissolve  and 
loosen.  To  dissolve  ;  many  things  are  destroyed  when  they  are  not 
dissolved  ;  as  suppose  a  building,  when  the  parts  are  taken  asunder  or 
severed  one  from  another.  So  he  came  to  dissolve  that  frame  of  wicked- 
ness and  rebellion  against  God  which  Satan  had  introduced  into  the 
world.  So  it  is  said,  '  Chi-ist  came  to  finish  transgression,  and  to  make 
an  end  of  sin,'  Dan.  ix.  24  ;  and  in  time  will  do  it.  Or  else  to  loosen 
or  untie  ;  to  loosen  a  chain  or  untie  a  knot ;  and  so  it  implieth  that 
sins  are  so  many  chains,  and  cords,  and  snares,  wherein  we  are  bound 
and  entangled :  Lam.  i.  14,  '  The  yoke  of  my  transgression  is  bound 
by  his  hand  ;  they  are  wreathed  and  come  up  upon  my  neck ; '  and 
the  wicked  are  said  to  be  held  with  the  cords  of  their  own  sins,  Prov. 
v.  22.     Christ  came  to  loosen  this  yoke,  to  untie  these  cords. 

(2d.)  The  object,  '  The  works  of  the  devil  ; '  whereby  is  meant  sins 
whicii  are  called  his  lusts.  The  devil  is  the  author  of  sin,  the  pro- 
moter of  sin,  and  hath  a  great  power  over  us  by  reason  of  sin.  Sin  is 
his  work ;  he  doth  not  only  sin  himself,  but  instigates  others  to  sin ; 
and  this  Christ  came  to  destroy  by  the  merit  of  his  purchase  and  the 
virtue  of  his  Spirit.     The  points  which  I  shall  handle  are  two — 

Doct  1.  That  while  men  live  in  a  sinful  course,  they  are  children  of 
Satan,  and  not  of  God. 

Doct.  2.  The  design  of  Christ's  coming  into  the  world  was  to  destroy 
sin.  which  Satan  had  brought  into  the  world. 

The  first  point,  that  while  men  live  in  sin,  or  in  a  sinful  course,  they 
are  children  of  Satan,  and  not  of  God.  For  this  first  point  take  these 
considerations — 

1.  That  God  and  the  devil  are  so  opposite,  that  a  man  cannot  be  the 
child  of  God  and  of  the  devil  too.  Since  the  first  breach  made  with 
God,  by  Adam's  defection  and  apostasy,  there  are  two  parties  and  two 
seeds — the  seed  of  the  woman  and  the  seed  of  the  serpent,  Gen.  iii.  15. 
God  and  Satan  divide  the  world.  There  is  no  neutral  and  middle 
estate  ;  a  man  must  be  one  of  these,  but  he  cannot  be  both  at  the  same 
time.  Those  that  continue  in  the  apostasy  from  God  are  of  Satan's 
party  ;  and  till  their  estate  be  altered  and  changed,  they  ought  so  to  be 
reckoned.  The  great  work  of  Christ,  by  the  powerful  means  of  grace 
he  hath  instituted  and  blessed,  is  '  to  turn  men  from  Satan  to  God,'  Acts 
xxvi.  18 ;  to  take  them  out  of  one  kingdom  to  another,  '  from  the 
kingdom  of  Satan  to  the  kingdom  of  God;'  Col.  i.  13,  'Who  hath 
rescued  us  out  of  the  power  of  darkness,  and  put  us  into  the  kingdom 
of  his  dear  Son.'  We  must  quit  the  one  before  we  can  be  received 
into  the  other ;  we  cannot  be  of  both  at  the  same  time.  Now  by 
nature  the  whole  world  of  mankind  Heth  in  wickedness,  and  the  devils 
are  said  to  be  rulers  of  the  darkness  of  this  world,  Eph.  vi.  12  ;  that  is, 
those  that  live  in  the  darkness  of  sin,  ignorance,  and  superstition,  the 
devil  exerciseth  a  tyranny  over  them,  and  so  they  continue  till  their 
estate  and  hearts  be  changed. 

2.  Our  being  children  to  either  is  not  to  be  determined  by  profes- 
sion only,  but  practice ;  for  many  who  are  by  profession  among  God's 
people  may  yet  be  limbs  of  Satan  and  children  of  the  devil ;  as  Christ 

VeR.  8,]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  IH.  45 

telleth  the  Jews,  who  were  the  only  visible  people  God  had  for  that 
time  in  the  world,  John  viii.  44,  '  Ye  are  of  your  father  the  devil,  and 
his  lusts  will  3'e  do  ; '  and  again,  speaking  of  the  tares  that  grew  among 
the  wheat,  Mat.  xv.  38,  '  The  field  is  the  world  ;  the  good  seed  are  the 
children  of  the  kingdom,  but  the  tares  are  the  children  of  the  wicked 
one.'  Mark,  the  field  is  the  world,  that  is,  the  state  of  the  church  in 
this  world ;  the  good  seed  signifies  the  good  christians,  but  the  tares 
the  wicked  that  are  remaining  intermingled  among  them,  and  are 
only  left  to  be  distinguished  by  the  reapers,  who  are  the  angels,  at  the 
last  day ;  so  that  all  that  live  in  a  state  of  sin,  and  are  unrenewed  by  the 
Holy  Ghost,  and  not  converted  to  God,  are  the  children  of  the  devil, 
though  they  grow  among  the  corn.  Now  what  a  detestable  thing  is 
it  that  any  of  us  should  be  Christ's  in  profession  and  the  devil's  in 
practice  and  conversation  ?  For  us  to  have  any  commerce  with  the 
devil,  and  belong  to  the  devil,  after  we  are  visibly  brought  into  the 
kingdom  of  God,  should  be  abhorred  by  all  good  christians.  We 
detest  witches  that  come  into  an  express  and  explicit  covenant  with 
Satan ;  but  we  are  in  an  implicit  covenant  with  him,  of  his  league  and 
confederacy,  if  we  cherish  his  lusts,  follow  his  counsels  and  sugges- 
tions. Others  renounce  their  baptism,  but  you  foi-get  your  baptism, 
which  implieth  a  solemn  vow  against  the  devil,  the  world,  and  the  flesh. 
And  therefore  carnal  christians  are  said  to  '  forget  that  they  w-ere 
purged  from  their  old  sins,'  2  Peter  i,  9  ;  that  is,  washed  in  God's 
laver,  wherein  they  were  dedicated  to  God,  and  renounced  the  devil 
and  his  works  and  lusts. 

3.  They  that  do  evil,  or  live  in  a  course  of  evil  doing,  are  Satan's 
children  for  two  reasons — 

[1.]  Because  they  resemble  and  imitate  him  ;  for  he  is  our  father 
whom  we  imitate.  Now  they  imitate  Satan  in  his  rebellion  against 
God.  A  man  is  said  to  be  of  the  devil,  non  natura  sed  imitatione. 
His  substance  is  not  by  traduction  from  Satan,  but  he  is  said  to  be  of 
the  devil  by  his  corruption.  By  nature  he  is  of  God,  but  by  sin  he  is 
of  Satan  ;  not  as  a  man,  but  as  a  wicked  man,  he  imitateth  the  devil, 
and  beareth  his  image,  and  is  like  Satan  in  malignity.  So  Elymas  tlie 
sorcerer  :  Acts  xiii.  10,  '  0  thou  child  of  the  devil,  thou  full  of  all  craft 
and  subtilty,  thou  enemy  of  all  righteousness  !  wilt  thou  not  cease  to 
pervert  the  ways  of  the  Lord  ?  '  Some  are  apparently  so  as  he  was,  while 
they  resemble  him  in  a  cruel  destructive  nature,  and  a  special  enmity 
to  Christ,  and  his  interest,  and  truth,  and  kingdom  in  the  world,  and 
seek  to  maintain  the  interest  of  sin  and  wickedness.  This  is  one 
special  sort  of  sin  which  is  proper  to  Satan;  but  all  that  cherish  sin  in 
themselves  and  others  are  Satan's  children,  though  they  do  not  go  to 
the  height  of  enmity  against  Christ ;  because  they  take  after  the 
devil  as  children  do  after  their  parents.  Look,  as  we  are  denominated 
children  of  God  by  imitation  and  resemblance  of  him,  Eph.  v.  1,  'Be 
ye  followers  of  God  as  dear  children,'  so  pari  raiione,  by  like  reason, 
the  devil's  children,  if  we  follow  him  in  our  obstinate  rebellion  against 

[2.]  Because  all  unregenerate  men  are  governed  by  him,  so  that 
there  is  subjection  as  well  as  imitation  ;  they  are  acted  and  guided  by 
his  suggestions;  he  hath  a  great  hand  and  power  over  them;  and 


therefore  carnal  men  are  said  to  walk  after  the  prince  of  the  power  of 
the  air,  who  worketh  in  the  children  of  disobedience.  He  governeth 
and  influenceth  tliem,  not  every  one  in  the  same  way,  yet  somewhat  in 
a  like  manner.  As  the  Holy  Spirit  governeth  the  faithful,  their  hearts 
are  his  shop  and  workhouse,  so  the  hearts  of  the  wicked  are  the  devil's 
workhouse,  where  he  frameth  instruments  of  rehelHou  against  God. 
The  devil,  who  hath  lost  his  seat,  hath  built  himself  a  throne  in  the 
hearts  of  wicked  men,  and  lords  it  over  them  as  his  slaves.  He 
blindeth  them,  and  they  suffer  themselves  to  be  blinded  :  2  Cor.  iv.  4, 
'Whose  eyes  the  god  of  this  world  hath  blinded.'  He  enticeth  them, 
and  they  consent,  and  therefore  they  are  said  to  be  taken  captive  by 
him  at  his  will  and  pleasure,  2  Tim.  ii.  26.  Surely  then  Satan  hath 
great  power  over  the  unconverted,  for,  making  use  of  the  corruption 
which  is  in  tliem  by  nature,  he  leadeth  them  np  and  down  by  his 
motions  and  suggestions,  and  they  obey  him  without  resistance  ;  and 
if  the  Lord  be  not  merciful  to  them,  they  live,  and  lie,  and  die  in  their 
sins,  and  are  cast  forth  with  the  devil  and  his  angels  into  everlasting 
torments,  Mat.  xxv.  41,  that  they  may  abide  with  him  for  ever. 

Use  1.  E.xhortation  to  those  that  yet  wallow  in  their  sins.  Oh,  come 
out  of  this  woful  estate,  if  you  would  be  accounted  children  of  God, 
and  not  of  the  devil !  But  this  exhortation  is  like  to  be  lost,  because 
none  will  own  their  misery,  and  acknowledge  that  they  do  as  yet 
remain  in  Satan's  snares.  Therefore  let  us  convince  men  a  little,  and 
persuade  them  at  the  same  time.  I  shall  convince  them  by  these 
questions,  intermingled  with  the  exhortation. 

Quest  1.  Do  not  you  please  yourselves  too  much  in  an  unholy  course 
of  life,  and  a  sinful  state  ?  The  sinful  state  is  the  state  opposite  to 
Christ ;  the  devil's  work  is  to  cherish  sin,  and  Christ's  work  is  to 
destroy  sin.  Now  judge  under  whose  influence  and  government  do  you 
live  ?  Under  Satan's  or  Christ's  ?  Are  you  cherishing  or  destroying 
sin  ?  If  you  live  under  Christ's  blessed  government,  you  will  use  all 
his  healing  methods  for  the  cure  of  your  distempered  souls,  till  you 
find  a  manifest  abatement  of  corruption,  or  inclination  to  present  things ; 
for  Satan  is  the  god  of  this  v;orld,  and  you  are  never  satisfied  till  the 
heavenly  mind  prevail  in  you.  But  if  you  be  under  Satan's  govern- 
ment, you  are  wholly  bent  to  the  world  and  the  things  of  the  world, 
and  are  entangled  in  one  of  usual  snares  of  sensuality,  worldli- 
ness,  or  pride  :  1  John  ii.  16,  '  For  all  that  is  in  the  world  is  the  lust 
of  tiie  flesh,  the  lust  of  the  eye,  and  the  pride  of  life,  which  is  not  of 
the  Father,  but  is  of  the  world.' 

1.  Sensuality.  The  carnal  mind  and  life  is  flat  enmity  to  God,  and 
showeth  that  we  are  influenced  by  the  evil  spirit,  as  the  heavenly  mind 
and  life  is  the  property  of  those  that  are  guided  by  the  Spirit  of  God  ; 
therefore  all  those  that  live  in  'gluttony,  and  excess  of  wine,  revellings, 
banquetings,'  1  Peter  iv.  3,  and  spendtheir  time  in  vanity,  wantonness, 
and  filthiness,  and  needless  sports,  are  guided  by  the  unclean  spirit, 
not  the  Holy  S{)irit ;  they  are  '  sensual,  not  having  the  Spirit.'  By 
these  vanities  the  mind  is  debased  and  polluted,  and  made  unfit  for 
God  and  the  work  of  holiness :  2  Tim.  ii.  22,  '  Flee  youthful  lusts  ; 
follow  after  righteousness.'  The  devil  is  busy  with  young  men, 
pressing  them  to  inordinate  sense-pleasing;   then  he  knowelh  that 

V'jiR.  8.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  47 

holiness  will  be  of  little  account  with  them :  a  gross  carnal  spirit 
j^ratifieth  the  devil's  turn,  Tertullian  telleth  us  a  story,  how  that  the 
devil  had  possessed  a  christian,  and  being  asked  why,  he  pleads  that 
he  found  him  at  a  play,  took  him  upon  his  own  ground,  and  so  pos- 
sessed him. 

2.  Worldliness,  or  love  of  riches  :  1  Tim.  vi.  9,  '  They  that  will  be 
rich  fall  into  temptation  and  the  snare  of  the  devil.'  The  devil  would 
draw  us  downward,  as  God  upward.  God  propoundeth  the  rich 
hopes  of  the  other  world  to  deaden  us  to  the  riches  and  glory  of  this 
world  ;  but  Satan  is  the  god  of  this  world ;  here  is  his  empire,  and 
here  are  his  baits  and  allurements.  Now  a  drossy,  unsanctified, 
miserable  soul,  that  loveth  the  world,  savoureth  the  world,  wholly 
inclineth  itself  to  the  world,  is  held  fast  by  Satan  in  the  snate. 

3.  Pride.  This  is  Satan's  proper  image  :  1  Tim.  vi.  3,  '  Lest,  being 
lifted  up  with  pride,  he  fall  into  the  condemnation  of  the  devil.'  This 
pride  lifts  up  the  mind  against  God  and  above  men  ;  when  men 
delight  and  place  their  happiness  in  greatness  and  v/orldly  glory,  have 
an  envy  to  those  above  them,  disdain  those  below  them,  contend  with 
equals  out  of  a  lofty  conceit  of  themselves,  afifect  honour  and  reputa- 
tion, ratlier  than  carry  themselves  humbly. 

Quest.  2.  How  do  you  carry  yourselves  as  to  the  change  of  masters? 
That  we  were  all  once  under  the  power  of  Satan  is  evident  by  what 
is  said  before.  But  how  did  we  get  out  of  it,  or  how  do  we  stand 
affected  towards  our  recovery  ? 

1.  As  to  the  offers  of  grace;  if  the  god  of  this  world  do  so  blind 
our  minds  or  harden  our  hearts  that  we  despise  the  offered  remedy : 
2  Cor.  iv.  4,  '  Lest  the  light  should  shine  unto  them.'  Impenitency 
and  contempt  of  the  grace  of  the  gospel  is  Satan's  great  chain ;  he  is 
loath  to  let  a  soul  go  ;  and  therefore.  Mat.  xiii.  19,  '  The  wicked  one 
cometh  and  catcheth  away  that  which  was  sown  in  his  heart.'  When 
they  begin  to  be  serious,  he  possesseth  them  with  prejudices  and  false 
conceits  against  religion,  and  inveigleth  and  enticeth  them  by  the 
pleasing  baits  of  worldly  glory  and  the  delights  of  the  flesh,  and  puts 
all  anxious  thoughts  out  of  their  minds  about  their  everlasting  con- 
dition, and  discourageth  them  by  the  proposal  of  troubles,  dislikes,  and 
disgraces ;  and  when  he  is  foiled  by  one  weapon,  he  betaketh  himself 
to  another,  tiiat  he  may  hold  the  poor  captive  soul  in  fetters  and 
bonds,  and  tiiey  may  never  think  of  leaving  their  sins,  but  these 
thoughts  may  die  away  in  their  hearts ;  and  thus  eveiy  soul  that  is 
recovered  to  Christ  is  fetched  out  of  the  very  paw  and  moutli  of  the 
lion.  The  heart  of  a  sinner  is  his  garrison  and  castle,  wliicli  is  so 
blinded  with  prejudice  and  passion,  and  carnal  interests  and  worldly 
allurements,  that  till  Christ  come  and  besiege  it,  partly  with  terrors 
and  fears,  and  partly  with  the  oflFers  of  mercy  and  ready  help,  yea,  the 
poweiftd  efficacy  of  his  grace,  the  poor  sinner  will  not  yield.  Now 
how  is  the  strong  man  outed  ?  Luke  xi.  21.  Have  you  been  sensible 
of  your  ca{)tivity,  and  iiave  you  yielded  to  the  means  of  your  recovery? 
Are  you  willing  tiie  cords  of  sin  and  vanity  shall  be  loosened  ?  and  do 
you  give  u[)  younselves  to  be  ruled  by  your  Redeemer,  and  take  upon 
you  his  blessed  yoke  ?  Mat.  xi.  29, 

2.  As  to  more  close  and  pressing  convictions,  which  is  a  nearer 

48  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  X^. 

approach  than  the  former.  When  Christ  presseth  hard  upon  men's 
hearts,  and  would  have  entrance,  many  find  a  plain  conflict  within 
themselves.  Christ  haleth  the  soul  one  way,  and  the  devil  another, 
so  that  a  man  is  as  it  were  torn  to  pieces.  They  would  repent  and 
reform,  but  then  they  are  off  again ;  the  enemy  of  souls  will  not  let 
them  go  ;  pleasures,  profits,  pleasant  company,  and  carnal  acquaint- 
ance, are  all  brought  out  to  persuade  him  that  he  should  sit  down  and 
be  quiet  in  his  sins.  But  Christ  calleth  again,  Why  wilt  thou  die, 
sinner  ?  Now  it  is  good  to  observe  our  carriage  in  these  convictions. 
While  you  keep  thus,  you  are  '  double-minded,  and  unstable  in  all 
your  ways,'  James  i. '8.  Oh,  let  not  Christ  be  kept  out  of  his  right 
any  longer ;  shall  Satan  be  more  powerful  in  drawing  your  hearts  to 
vain  delights  than  Christ  is  in  working  them  to  God  and  heaven? 
Can  he  maintain  you,  and  make  good  your  quarrel  against  the 
Almighty,  and  bear  you  out  in  rebellion  against  God  ?  He  is  already 
fallen  under  his  displeasure  :  will  you  believe  a  murderer  and  a  liar 
from  the  beginning,  rather  than  all  the  threateniugs  and  promises  of 
Christ?  What  is  Satan's  end  but  to  destroy  and  devour,  1  Peter  v.  8, 
and  Christ's  but  to  save  ?  Luke  xix.  10,  '  For  the  Son  of  man  is  come 
to  seek  and  to  save  that  which  was  lost.'  Are  eternal  life  and  death 
such  trifles  that  they  should  move  you  no  more  ?  You  are  now  but 
as  the  lamb  caught  by  the  wolf  and  lion ;  you  are  not  yet  killed  by 
him.  How  much  are  you  beholden  to  God  for  restraining  the  mali- 
cious so  far ;  especially  for  the  offer  of  help  by  Christ,  and  will  you 
refuse  it  ?  I  will  add  but  this  one  motive,  and  that  is  the  deference  ^ 
which  Satan  hath  over  the  unconverted  in  common  and  the  obdurate. 
All  natural  men  that  are  under  the  reign  of  sin  are  under  the  power 
of  the  devil.  But  those  that  are  judicially  hardened,  he  hath  a 
peculiar  power  over  them ;  for  these  God  hath  forsaken,  and  delivered 
them  up  into  Satan's  hands;  these  are  given  over  to  believe  a  lie, 
2  Thes.  ii.  9-12.  Who  are  they  but  the  contemners  of  the  gospel, 
and  wilful  refusers  of  his  grace  ? 

Quest.  3.  Do  we  behave  ourselves  as  those  that  had  a  sense  of  their 
covenant  vow  and  engagement  when  they  entered  into  the  service  of 
Christ  and  have  put  on  the  armour  of  light  ?  Are  we  in  a  continual 
war  and  fight  with  Satan  ?  Certainly  where  there  is  a  conscience  of 
our  baptismal  vow,  there  sin  cannot  quietly  reign.  Now  they  that 
make  conscience  of  their  baptismal^  vow  are  such  as  do  watch,  and 
pray,  and  strive  that  they  enter  not  into  temptation :  Mat.  xxvi.  41, 
'  Watch  and  pray,  that  ye  enter  not  into  temptation :  the  spirit  is 
willing,  but  the  flesh  is  weak.'  The  godly  are  in  a  great  part  flesh, 
although  renewed,  and  so  easily  ensnared.  When  the  devil  came  to 
tempt  Christ,  he  had  nothing  to  work  upon :  John  xiv.  30,  '  The 
prince  of  this  world  cometh,  and  hath  nothing  in  me.'  But  the  best 
of  God's  children  have  too  much  of  corruption  in  them,  therefore  they 
must  watch,  and  pray,  and  strive,  and  use  all  Christ's  means  for  their 
safety.  You  must  not  basely  yield  to  temptations,  nor  lazily  sit  down, 
or  foolishly  imagine  the  field  is  won,  or  the  fight  is  ended,  as  long  as 
you  are  in  the  body.  How  far  soever  you  have  gone,  how  much 
soever  you  have  done  and  suffered,  yet  there  remaineth  more  danger ; 
the  devil  is  yet  alive^  and  hath  a  spite  at  you,  and  would  sift  you  as 

^  Qu.  'difference  of  the  power'  1 — Ed. 

VeR.  8.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  49 

wheat,  Luke  xxii.  33.  He  knoweth  that  creatures  are  mutable,  and 
those  that  miscarry  not  in  one  condition  yet  may  in  another :  'Ephraim 
is  a  cake  not  turned,'  Hosea  vii.  8,  and  he  himself  is  subtle  and  full 
of  wiles  and  methods.  Now  shall  we  carelessly  wink,  or  put  our  foot 
in  the  snare  ?  Christ  warneth  us  frequently  to  take  heed.  There  is 
no  sleeping  in  the  midst  of  so  great  danger.  There  is  a  remnant  of 
his  seed  within  you,  which  will  betray  you  to  him  if  you  be  not  wary. 
Many  that  have  begun  in  the  spirit  have  ended  in  the  flesh.  Per- 
severance only  must  put  on  the  crown.  Therefore  beware  of  the 
wounds  of  wilful  sins  ;  these  give  Satan  a  great  advantage  against  us : 
Ps.  xix.  13,  'Keep  back  thy  servant  from  presumptuous  sins.'  By 
committing  any  deliberate  act  of  known  sin,  you  are  in  that  so  far  an 
imitator  of  Satan.  Well,  then,  since  the  renewed  are  yet  but  in  the 
way,  and  not  at  the  end  of  the  journey,  they  are  not  wholly  exempted 
from  the  power  and  malice  of  the  tempter  :  '  Therefore  be  sober  and 
watchful,  for  your  adversary  the  devil,  like  a  roaring  lion,  goeth  about, 
seeking  whom  he  may  devour,'  1  Peter  v.  8.  He  speaketh  to  the 
converted.  Though  Satan  prevaileth  not  over  a  renewed  man  so  far 
as  to  rule  in  him,  yet  he  leaveth  not  to  assault  him,  if  it  were  but  to 
vex  him.  The  capital  enemy  of  man's  salvation  watcheth  all  advan- 
tages against  them  ;  though  the  door  of  a  believer's  heart  be  shut,  yet 
he  is  searching  and  trying  if  he  can  spy  but  the  narrowest  passage,  or 
the  least  opportunity  whereby  he  may  again  re-enter  bis  old  posses- 
sion, or  exercise  his  former  tyranny,  or  recover  his  interest  in  the 
heart ;  therefore  we  are  warned,  Eph.  iv.  27,  '  not  to  give  place  to  the 
devil.'  We  do  so  by  our  pride,  passion,  vanity,  or  worldliness  ;  but  by 
hearkening  to  him  we  do  but  give  up  our  throat  to  the  murderer,  who 
would  fain  draw  us  to  some  acts  of  gross  sin,  whereby  to  dishonour 
God :  2  Sam.  xii.  14,  '  Howbeit,  because  by  this  deed  thou  hast  given 
occasion  to  the  enemies  of  God  to  blaspheme.'  And  destroy  our 
peace :  Ps.  xxxii.  3,  4,  '  When  I  kept  silence,  my  bones  waxed  old, 
through  my  roaring  all  the  day  long ;  for  day  and  night  thy  hand 
was  heavy  upon  me  :  my  moisture  is  turned  into  the  drought  of 
summer.'  And  fearful  havoc  is  made  in  the  soul :  Ps.  li.  10-12, 
*  Create  in  me  a  clean  heart,  0  God,  and  renew  a  right  spirit  within 
me.  Cast  me  not  away  from  thy  presence,  and  take  not  thy  Holy 
Spirit  from  me.  Restore  to  me  the  joy  of  thy  salvation,  and  uphold 
me  with  thy  free  Spirit.' 


For  this  purpose  the  Son  of  God  icas  manifested,  that  he  might  destroy 
the  ivorks  of  the  devil. — 1  John  iii.  8. 

I  HAVE  often  spoken  of  what  Christ  doth  for  the  appeasing  of  God ; 
I  shall  now  speak  of  what  he  doth  for  the  vanqui.shing  of  Satan. 

In  the  words  consider — (1.)  The  way  the  Son  of  God  took  to  do  us 
good  ;  (2.)  His  end  and  design  therein. 

VOL.  XX  r.  D 


1.  The  way  the  Son  of  God  took  to  do  us  good,  '  He  was  mani- 
fested;' thereby  is  meant  his  coming  in  the  flesh,  1  Tim.  iii.  16, 
together  with  all  the  acts  of  his  mediation  performed  in  our  nature. 
God  had  foretold  that  the  seed  of  the  woman  should  bruise  the 
serpent's  head,  Geri,  iii.  15 ;  in  our  nature  would  Christ  foil  and  con- 
quer Satan. 

2.  The  end  and  the  design  ;  for  this  cause,  '  That  he  might  destroy 
the  works  of  the  devil.'     Wherein  observe — 

[1.]  An  act;  to  destroy.  The  word  signifieth  also  to  dissolve  or 
untie,  to  loosen  a  chain  or  untie  a  knot,  and  so  implieth  that  sins  are 
so  many  chains,  cords,  and  snares,  wherein  we  are  bound.  We  are  en- 
snared and  entangled  in  a  course  of  sin  till  Christ  untied  the  knot : 
Hosea  iv.  17,  '  Ephraim  is  joined  to  idols.'  So  joined  that  he  cannot 
be  divided  from  them  ;  concorporate  with  his  idols.  And  we  are 
bound  over  to  punishment :  Lam.  i.  14,  '  The  yoke  of  transgressions 
is  bound  by  his  hands,  they  are  wreathed  and  come  upon  my  neck  ; ' 
and  the  wicked  are  said  to  be  holden  with  the  cords  of  his  sins, 
Prov.  V.  22. 

[2.]  The  object, '  The  works  of  the  devil,'  whereby  is  meant  sin.  The 
former  part  of  the  verse  cleareth  that,  '  He  that  committeth  sin  is 
of  the  devil ; '  and  sins  are  called  his  lusts,  John  viii.  44.  The  devil 
is  the  author  of  sin,  and  suggests  sin,  and  hath  a  power  over  us  by 
reason  of  sin.  Sin  is  his  work ;  he  doth  not  only  sin  himself,  but  in- 
stigate others  to  sin, 

Doct.  The  design  of  Christ's  coming  into  the  world  was  to  unravel 
the  devil's  work,  or  to  destroy  the  kingdom  of  sin  and  Satan. 

I  observe  here — 

1.  Two  opposite  powers  and  agents — the  devil  and  the  Son  of 
God.  The  devil  sought  the  misery  and  destruction  of  mankind,  but 
Christ  sought  our  salvation.  Satan  is  the  great  disturber  of  the 
creation,  and  Christ  is  the  repairer  of  it.  This  malicious  cruel  spirit 
ruined  mankind  at  first,  and  therefore  he  is  called  a  liar  and  a 
murderer  from  the  beginning,  John  viii.  44  ;  and  Christ,  as  early 
promised  and  prefigured,  is  said  to  be  '  the  Lamb  slain  from  the  founda- 
tion of  the  world,'  Eev.  xiii.  8.  We  were  at  first  ruined  by  hearkening 
to  his  counsels  and  suggestions,  as  we  are  now  saved  by  faith  in  Christ. 
By  his  lies  he  deceived  our  first  parents,  and  induced  them  to  sin,  and 
so  we  are  made  liable  to  death  ;  and  so  by  Christ's  truth  we  are  led 
into  the  way  of  salvation.  All  persons  were  corrupted  and  out  of 
frame  by  the  fall  of  man,  through  the  suggestion  of  Satan,  and  are  set 
in  joint  again  by  Jesus  Christ.  The  devil  is  still '  a  roaring  lion,  going 
about  seeking  whom  he  may  devour,'  1  Peter  v.  8;  and  Christ  is  the 
lion  of  the  tribe  of  Judah,  in  whom  is  our  safety  and  preservation, 
Kev.  V.  5.  The  devil  is  wholly  employed  to  oppose  the  work  of  man's 
salvation  and  to  bring  us  into  sin  and  misery,  and  Christ  is  employed 
to  preserve  the  elect,  and  keep  them  in  his  own  hand.  The  devil  is  an 
accuser  of  the  brethren,  Rev.  xii.  10,  and  Christ  is  an  advocate: 
1  John  ii.  1,  'We  have  an  advocate  with  the  Father,  Jesus  Christ  the 
righteous.'  In  short,  we  must  set  the  one  against  the  other,  the 
captain  of  our  salvation  against  the  author  of  our  destruction. 

2.  Let  us  consider  the  advantage  that  we  have  by  the  one  above  the 

YkII.  8.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  51 

other,  and  you  will  find  that  Christ  is  much  more  able  to  save  than 
Satan  to  destroy. 

[1,]  The  devil  is  a  creature,  but  Christ  the  sovereign  Lord,  who 
hath  power  over  him  and  all  creatures.  The  devil's  tempting  is  by 
leave.  He  was  fain  to  beg  leave  to  tempt  Job,  chap.  i.  12 ;  to  winnow 
Peter,  Luke  xxii.  31,  'Satan  hath  desired  to  winnow  and  sift  you  as 
wheat.'  Nay,  he  could  not  enter  into  the  herd  of  swine  without  a  new 
patent  or  pass  from  Christ,  Mat.  viii.  31.  This  cruel  spirit  is  held  in 
the  chains  of  an  irresistible  providence.  When  we  are  in  Satan's  hands, 
it  is  a  great  satisfaction  to  remember  that  Satan  is  in  God's  hands. 

[2.]  The  devil  is  a  rebel  and  a  usurper  for  the  most  part,  but  Christ 
is  our  appointed  remedy :  John  iii.  16,  'He  gave  his  only-begotten  Son, 
that  whosoever  believeth  on  him  should  not  perish,  but  have  ever- 
lasting life ; '  Eom.  iii.  25,  '  Whom  God  hath  set  forth  to  be  a  pro- 
pitiation, through  faith  in  his  blood.' 

[3.]  The  devil  hath  no  power  upon  the  heart,  cannot  work  any 
change  upon  the  will,  or  create  new  principles  and  habits  which  before 
were  not,  as  God  doth,  Jer.  xxxi.  33.  God  can  put  his  law  into  our 
inward  parts,  and  write  it  on  our  hearts.  He  can  only  propound 
alluring  baits  and  objects  to  the  outward  senses  or  inward  fancy,  but 
God  worketh  immediately  upon  the  heart ;  therefore  by  the  power  of 
Christ  the  godly  may  overcome  the  wicked  one.  The  Lord  puts  an 
enmity  in  our  hearts  against  Satan  and  his  ways  and  counsels :  Gen. 
iii.  15,  '  And  I  will  put  enmity  between  thee  and  the  woman,  and  be- 
tween thy  seed  and  her  seed.'  It  is  put  by  way  of  eflficacy  on  the  one 
side,  and  allowed  on  the  other  by  way  of  permissive  intention.  God 
maketh  use  of  our  will  and  affections  in  this  opposition.  Enmity  is 
the  voluntary  and  strong  motion  of  the  mind  of  man  against  that  which 
he  hateth. 

[4.]  The  devil  only  maketh  use  of  the  root  of  sin  which  is  in  us  by 
nature,  and  prevaileth  by  his  assiduous  diligence,  multiplying  tempta- 
tions without  intermission.  But  yet  we  have  more  for  us  than  against 
us,  if  we  consider  that  Christ  hath  power  enough  to  deal  with  Satan ; 
he  is  overmatched  and  overmastered  by  Christ,  the  stronger  than  he, 
Luke  xi.  22.  Merit  enough  to  counterbalance  the  evil  of  nature. 
There  is  much  more  in  the  grace  of  the  Redeemer :  Eom.  v.  17,  '  For 
if  by  one  man's  offence  death  reigned  by  one,  much  more  they  which 
receive  abundance  of  grace,  and  of  the  gift  of  righteousness,  shall  reign 
in  life  by  one,  Christ  Jesus.'  Then  for  his  assiduity,  Ciuist  hath  love 
enough  to  attend  and  mind  the  affairs  of  his  people.  It  is  true  Satan 
is  always  blowing  the  bellows,  inflaming  our  corruptions,  suggesting 
wicked  temptations  ;  but  doth  not  Christ  still  make  intercession  for  us  ? 
Is  not  his  Spirit  as  watchful  in  our  hearts  to  maintain  his  interest 
there?  So  that  if  we  believe  that  Christ  hath  power  enough,  merit 
enough,  love  enough,  surely  the  case  is  clear  ;  the  Son  of  God  will  have 
the  better  in  all  in  whom  he  is  pleased  to  work. 

3.  That  all  mankind  by  nature  lieth  in  wickedness,  and  sin  and 
Satan  workelh  in  them  at  his  pleasure,  and  therefore  Satan  is  called 
the  prince  and  god  of  this  world  :  Eph.  vi.  12,  '  Rulers  of  the  darkness 
of  this  world.'  He  is  the  prince  and  ruler  of  those  that  live  in  sin, 
darkness,  ignorance  of  God,  and  superstition,  and  exerciseth  a  tyranny 


over  them.  So  he  is  called  the  god  of  this  world,  2  Cor.  iv.  4,  because 
of  his  great  prevalency  here  :  '  The  priuce  of  the  power  of  the  air,  that 
Avorketh  in  the  children  of  disobedience,'  Eph.  ii.  2,  All  men  in  their 
unrenewed  estate  are  very  slaves  to  Satan,  to  his  motions  and  sugges- 
tions, whom  they  resemble  in  their  sin  and  wickedness,  he  taking  them 
captive  at  his  will  and  pleasure,  2  Tim.  ii.  26.  They  are  at  war  with 
God,  from  the  covenant  of  whose  friendship  they  are  fallen,  but  at 
peace  with  Satan. 

4.  Satan  hath  a  twofold  power  over  the  fallen  creature — legal  and 

[1.]  He  hath  a  power  over  them  by  a  kind  of  legal  right,  a  power 
flowing  from  the  sentence  of  condemnation  pronounced  by  the  law 
against  sinners ;  therefore  it  is  said  he  had  the  power  of  death :  Heb. 
ii.  14,  '  That  he  might  destroy  him  who  had  the  power  of  death,  that 
is,  the  devil.'  The  devil  by  his  temptations  having  drawn  men  to  sin, 
and  so  made  them  liable  to  death,  they  fall  into  his  hands  and  come 
into  his  power,  so  that  he  hath  a  dominion  over  them,  reigneth  in  them, 
blindeth  them,  perverteth  them,  stingeth  them  to  death,  and  so  by  sin 
more  and  more  they  are  made  obnoxious  to  the  curse  and  vengeance  of 
God's  broken  law.  As  the  jailor  and  executioner  hath  the  power  of  the 
gallows,  so  hath  the  devil  the  power  of  death.  The  devil  hath  no 
right,  as  a  lord,  to  judge  and  condemn  us,  but  as  an  executioner  of 
God's  curse;  so  God  may  put  the  poor  captive  sinner  into  his  hand, 
which  is  one  reason  why  we  should  the  more  earnestly  beg  the  pardon 
of  sins,  and  be  thankful  for  the  mercy  of  a  Redeemer.  Now  this 
power  being  by  the  appointment  of  God,  it  must  some  way  or  other  be 
evacuated  and  disannulled  :  Isa.  xlix.  24,  'Shall  the  prey  be  taken  from 
the  mighty,  and  the  lawful  captive  delivered  ?  '  Sinners  are  Satan's 
lawful  prize,  but  Christ  came  and  turned  the  devil  out  of  office : 
'  By  death  he  hath  destroyed  him  that  had  the  power  of  death.'  He 
made  Satan's  office  idle  and  useless ;  when  God  was  reconciled,  his 
power  was  at  an  end.  Therefore  upon  his  blotting  out  the  handwriting 
of  ordinances,  which  was  against  us,  we  presently  hear  of  the  disan- 
nulling of  Satan's  power.  Col.  i.  14,  15.  When  the  judge  and  the  law 
are  satisfied,  the  jailor  and  executioner  hath  no  more  to  do. 

[2.]  He  hath  a  power  by  tyrannical  usurpation,  in  regard  of  which 
he  is  called  the  prince  of  this  world:  John  xii.  31,  'Now  is  the  prince 
of  this  world  condemned.'  God  ma'de  him  an  executioner,  and  we  made 
him  a  prince  and  a  god,  obeying  his  sinful  motions  and  counsels,  and 
being  led  by  him  up  and  down,  and  driven  on  furiously  in  a  way  of  sin. 
So  Christ,  as  true  king  and  head,  both  of  men  and  angels,  putteth 
down  Satan  as  a  usurper,  and  breaketh  the  yoke  of  his  oppression, 
rescueth  the  elect  by  strong  hand  :  Col.  i.  13,  *  Who  hath  delivered"  us 
from  the  power  of  Satan,  and  translated  us  into  the  kingdom  of  his 
dear  Son.'  Satan  had  housed  and  possessed  souls  as  his  lawful  goods : 
Luke  xi.  21,  '  When  a  strong  man  armed  keepeth  his  palace,  his  goods 
are  in  peace ; '  Mat.  xii.  29,  '  How  can  one  enter  into  a  strong  man's 
house,  and  spoil  his  goods,  except  he  first  bind  the  strong  man,  and 
then  he  will  spoil  his  house  ? '  Not  part  with  the  possession  of  one 
soul  till  he  be  mastered ;  therefore  the  usurper  and  disturber  of  man- 
kind is  destroyed. 

VeR.  8.]  SERMONS  UrON  1  JOHN  III.  53 

5.  There  is  a  twofold  work  of  the  devil — one  without  us,  and  the 
other  within  us. 

[1.]  The  work  of  the  devil  without  us  is  a  false  religion,  or  those 
idolatrous  and  superstitious  rites  by  which  the  world  hath  been  deceived, 
and  by  which  Satan's  kingdom  hath  been  upheld.  Now  Satan's  king- 
dom is  cast  down  by  the  doctrine  of  the  gospel,  accompanied  by  Christ's 
jiowerful  Spirit :  Luke  x.  18,  'I  beheld  Satan  fall  from  heaven  like 
lightning.'  When  the  gospel  was  first  preached,  the  devil  was  de- 
throned, and  fell  from  his  great  unlimited  power  in  the  world  ;  as 
lightning  flasheth  and  vanisheth,  and  cometh  to  nothing,  and  never  re- 
collects itself  again  :  John  xii.  31,  '  Now  shall  the  prince  of  this  world 
be  cast  out.'  The  apostles  went  abroad  to  bait  the  devil,  and  hunt 
him  out  of  his  territories,  and  they  did  it  with  great  effect.  And  there- 
fore it  is  made  one  argument  by  which  the  Spirit  doth  convince  us  of  the 
truth  of  the  gospel:  John  xvi.  11,  'He  shall  convince  the  world  of 
judgment,  because  the  prince  of  this  world  is  judged.'  The  casting 
out  of  Satan  from  the  bodies  of  those  who  were  possessed  by  him,  the 
silencing  his  oracles,  the  suppressing  his  superstitions,  and  destroy- 
ing the  kingdom  of  wickedness  and  darkness,  was  an  apparent  evidence 
of  the  truth  of  the  gospel,  as  was  striking  blind  Elymas,  a  famous  sor- 
cerer. Acts  xiii.  So  the  punishment  of  his  servants  and  votaries,  dis- 
solving the  force  of  his  enchantments  :  '  They  that  used  curious  arts 
burnt  their  books,'  Acts  xix.  15.  The  devil's  kingdom  went  to  wreck 
in  all  the  parts  of  it ;  the  old  religion  everywhere  was  overturned,  no 
more  the  same  rites,  the  same  temples,  the  same  gods  that  they  and 
their  predecessors  had  so  long  worshipped  ;  and  God,  as  worship- 
ped in  Christ,  cometh  up  in  the  room.  Though  the  world  were 
captivated,  under  Satan,  rooted  in  former  superstitions,  yet  Christ  pre- 
vailed, and  got  ground  by  the  rod  of  his  strength,  even  the  word  of  his 
kingdom.  Before  that,  Satan  everywhere  had  his  temples  wherein  he 
was  worshipped,  his  oracles  resorted  to  with  great  reverence,  till  the 
Hebrew  child  silenced  him.  He  ate  of  the  fat  of  their  sacrifices,  and 
drank  the  wine  of  their  drink-offerings,  yea,  often  the  blood  of  their  sons 
and  daughters,  whom  they  sacrificed  to  him.  Yet  all  his  strongholds 
were  now  demolished,  the  idols  broken  whom  they  and  their  fathers 
had  worshipped  and  prayed  unto  in  their  distresses  and  adversities, 
and  blessed  in  their  prosperities.  Now  all  of  a  sudden  are  these  tem- 
ples thrown  down,  these  images  broken,  these  altars  polluted  and  set 
at  nought,  and  the  people  turned  from  these  vanities  unto  the  living 
God  ;  and  still  he  is  undeceiving  the  world  ;  he  came  to  dissolve  the 
works  of  the  devil,  and  in  every  age  something  is  done  in  that  kind. 
The  unwary  and  corrupt  world  dotli  put  Christ  upon  acting  mainly 
the  demolishing  and  destructive  part  hitherto.  When  gentile  worship 
was  put  down,  then  antichristianity  got  up  in  a  mystery,  and  fortifietli 
itself  by  the  numerous  combined  interests  of  the  carnal ;  '  But  the  wea- 
])ons  of  our  warfare  are  not  carnal,  but  might}^  thiough  God,  to  pull 
down  strongholds,'  2  Cor.  x.  4.  But  in  time,  by  the  power  of  the  word 
and  the  course  of  God's  providence,  and  the  patience  of  his  servants 
and  the  efficacy  of  his  Spirit,  this  whole  mystery  of  iniquity  will  be 
finished  and  come  to  nothing. 

[2.]  There  is  the  work  of  the  devil  within  us  ;  this  is  destroyed  also. 


But  here  again  we  must  distioguisli  between  the  purchase  and  the  ap- 

(1.)  The  purchase  was  made  when  Christ  died  ;  for,  Heb.  ii.  14, '  By 
death  he  destroyed  him  that  had  the  power  of  death  ; '  and  Col.  ii.  15, 
*  He  spoiled  principalities  and  powers,  and  triumphed  over  them  on  his 
cross.'  Christ's  death  is  Satan's  overthrow  ;  then  was  the  deadly  blow 
given  to  his  power  and  kingdom.  When  the  Jews  and  Eoman  soldiers 
were  spoiling  him  and  parting  his  garments,  then  was  he  spoiling  princi- 
palities and  powers  ;  in  that  very  hour,  which  was  the  power  of  dark- 
ness, was  Christ  making  a  show  of  Satan  openly,  and  leading  captivity 
captive.  When  they  were  insulting  over  the  Son  of  God,  then  was  he 
triumphing  over  all  the  devils  in  hell,  and  overcame  them  by  suffering 
himself  visibly  to  be  overcome  by  them.  Well,  then,  here  is  the  ground 
of  our  faith,  the  death  of  Christ,  which  we  remember  in  the  sacrament ; 
this  was  the  price  given  for  our  ransom,  and  the  means  of  disannulling 
all  the  power  which  Satan  had  in  us  before. 

(2.)  The  application  is  begun  in  our  conversion,  and  afterwards 
carried  on  by  degrees.  All  those  who  are  converted  and  receive  the 
gospel  are  said  to  be  turned  from  Satan  to  God,  Acts  xxvi.  18.  Then 
are  they,  from  the  children  of  the  devil,  made  the  children  of  God, 
and  adopted  into  his  family,  and  delivered  from  the  dominion  of  sin 
into  the  glorious  liberties  that  belong  to  God's  children.  And  therefore 
those  to  whom  God  giveth  repentance  are  said,  2  Tim.  ii.  26,  to  be 
recovered  out  of  the  snare  of  the  devil,  by  whom  they  were  taken  captive 
formerly  at  his  will  and  pleasure.  Before  they  were  his  slaves  and 
drudges,  drove  on  furiously,  were  at  the  beck  of  every  lust ;  but  then 
they  recover  themselves,  as  made  free  by  Christ. 

6.  There  is  in  sin,  which  is  the  work  of  the  devil,  three  things — (I.) 
The  guilt  of  it ;  (2.)  The  power  of  it  ;  (3.)  The  being  of  it.  All 
these  Christ  came  to  dissolve,  but  by  several  means  and  at  several 

[1.]  The  guilt  of  it ;  that  is  done  away  by  justification.  Guilt  is 
an  obligation  to  punishment.  Now  this  is  one  effect  of  Satan's  malice,  to 
involve  us  in  the  same  ruin  and  condemnation  into  which  he  hath 
plunged  himself ;  he  is  held  in  chains  of  darkness,  2  Peter  ii.  4  ;  by 
which  is  meant,  not  only  the  powerful  restraints  of  providence,  but  the 
horror  of  his  own  despairing  fears.  If  the  restraints  of  providence  had 
only  been  intended,  it  had  been  enough  to  have  said  they  are  held  in 
chains ;  but  these  are  chains  of  darkness,  and  therefore  it  implieth  not 
only  God's  irresistible  power  restraining  them,  but  his  terrible  justice 
tormenting  them  ;  so  that,  go  where  they  will,  they  carry  their  own  hell 
about  with  them,  in  the  constant  feeling  of  the  wrath  of  the  Almighty, 
and  the  dreadful  expectation  of  more  wrath.  This  is  the  case  of  the 
devils  ;  and  do  not  they  seek  to  bring  us  into  the  same  condition  ?  Yes, 
certainly  they  do;  what  mean  else  Satan's  'fiery  darts?'  Eph.  vi.  16,  by 
which  is  meant,  not  only  raging  lusts,  but  tormenting  fears.  And 
certainly,  as  the  devil  hath  the  power  of  death,  so  he  keepeth  men  under 
the  fear  of  it  and  the  consequents  of  it  all  their  days,  Heb.  ii.  14,  15. 
He  bringeth  his  slaves  and  poor  deluded  souls  into  sin,  that  he  may 
bring  them  into  terror,  and  oppress  them  by  their  own  guilty  fears. 
He  maketh  use  of  conscience  to  stir  them  up,  but  he  joineth  with  them 

YeR.  8.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  I[I.  55 

horrors  of  conscience,  and  increaseth  their  violence.  The  devil  is  first 
a  tempter,  that  he  may  be  afterwards  an  accuser  and  a  tormentor. 
He  is  called  our  '  adversary,'  1  Peter  v.  8.  The  word  signifieth  an 
adversary  or  enemy  at  law.  He  pleadeth  law  and  equity  of  his  side, 
and  by  law  would  carry  the  cause  against  all  that  come  of  Adam,  for 
they  are  all  law-breakers  ;  and  if  Christ  had  not  freed  us  from  the 
curse  of  the  law,  what  would  j'ou  answer  ?  Again,  when  he  is  termed 
an  accuser,  Rev.  xii.,  it  doth  not  signify  a  whisperer  or  slanderer  out  of 
malice,  but  a  pleader  as  an  attorney  or  accuser  bylaw.  There  is  none 
upon  earth  but  yieldeth  matter  enough  to  fill  up  his  accusations ;  he 
needeth  not  come  with  slanders.  Now  wicked  men,  who  are  his  slaves, 
are  either  stupified  or  terrified  by  him,  or  both.  If  they  be  stupified, 
they  are  more  terrified  afterwards  ;  at  best  they  are  always  at  the  beck 
and  mercy  of  a  cruel  master,  who  can  soon  revive  their  hidden  fears  ; 
and  if  they  be  not  under  actual  horrors,  they  dare  not  be  serious,  nor 
call  themselves  to  an  account,  nor  entertain  any  sober  thoughts  of  death, 
and  judgment,  and  wrath  to  come.  Yea,  Satan  hath  a  great  hand  in 
the  troubles  of  conscience  which  befall  God's  children  ;  they  have  many 
a  sad  hour  of  darkness  when  God  lets  loose  the  tempter  upon  them,  and 
many  heavy  damps  of  spirit  doth  the  accuser  bring  upon  them  now. 
Well,  then,  this  is  a  part  of  the  works  of  the  devil,  those  fears  of  death 
and  damnation  which  dog  sin  at  the  heels.  These  Christ  came  to 
dissolve,  and  by  death  to  deliver  us  from  the  fear  of  death  :  '  He  was 
made  sin  for  us,  that  we  might  be  made  the  righteousness  of  God  in 
him,'  2  Cor.  v.  21.  A  believer  may  triumph  over  his  accu.ser,  and  draw 
water  out  of  the  wells  of  salvation  with  joy  :  Rom.  viii.  33,  34,  '  Who 
shall  lay  anything  to  the  charge  of  God's  elect  ?  it  is  God  that  justifieth  ; 
who  is  he  that  condemneth  ?  it  is  Christ  that  died,  yea  rather,  that  is 
risen  again,  who  is  even  at  the  right  hand  of  God,  and  maketh  interces- 
sion for  us.'  By  his  death  he  hath  satisfied  God's  justice,  and  at  his 
resurrection  he  had  his  discharge.  By  his  intercession  he  pleadeth  it 
in  court.  Who  shall  condemn?  Our  advocate  is  more  powerful  in 
court  than  our  accuser  ;  he  doth  not  only  sue  out  our  pardon  by  entreaty, 
but  by  merit :  Dan.  ix.  24,  '  He  shall  make  an  end  of  sins,  and  make 
reconciliation  for  iniquity,  and  bring  in  an  everlasting  righteousness.' 
This  is  to  destroy  the  works  of  the  devil  indeed.  He  shall  stay  the  im- 
putation of  sin,  working  the  reconciliation  of  sinful  man  to  God,  estab- 
lishing an  unchangeable  rule  of  our  justification  by  the  Lord  our  right- 
eou.sness.  Surely  all  accusation  is  fruitless  when  we  have  such  an 
advocate  as  he  is.  We  are  sinners ;  but  if  he  will  spread  the  skirt  of 
liis  righteousness  over  us,  'and  appear  before  God  for  us'  Heb.  ix.  24, 
why  should  we  fear  ? 

[2.]  The  dominion  and  power  of  sin.  The  devil  keepeth  peaceable 
possession  in  the  soul  as  long  as  sin  reigneth  :  Eph.  ii.  2,  '  He  worketh 
in  the  children  of  di.sobedience.'  Their  hearts  are  his  shop  and  work- 
house, where  he  formeth  weapons  and  instruments  of  rebellion  against 
God.  The  devil,  who  hath  lost  his  seat  in  heaven,  hath  built  himself 
a  throne  in  the  heart  of  every  wicked  man,  and  lords  it  over  them  as 
over  his  slaves  ;  and  if  they  liad  eyes  to  see,  this  is  a  heavier  bondage 
than  if  they  were  laden  with  irons,  and  cast  into  the  deepest  dungeon 
tliat  ever  was  digged.     Convinced  men  are  sensible  of  it,  but  they  know 


not  how  to  help  themselves.  Converted  men  are  in  part  freed ;  the 
dominion  of  sin  is  broken  in  them,  though  its  life  be  prolonged  for  a 
season.  But  because  it  is  a  nice  case  how  to  distinguish  between  the 
remaining  of  sin  and  the  reigning  of  it,  and  the  life  from  the  dominion, 
and  every  degree  of  this  hated  enemy  is  a  burden,  therefore  they  pray 
earnestly,  Ps.  cxix.  133,  '  Order  my  steps  in  thy  word,  and  let  no  ini- 
quity have  dominion  over  me.'  Watch  and  strive:  Kom.  vi.  12,  '  Let 
not  sin  reign  therefore  in  your  mortal  bodies,  that  ye  should  obey  the 
lusts  thereof.'  Comfort  themselves  with  their  justification,  in  the  im- 
perfection of  their  sanctification  :  Rom.  vi.  14,  '  For  sin  shall  not  have 
dominion  over  us ;  for  ye  are  not  under  the  law,  but  under  grace.'  But 
the  great  encouragement  of  all  is  Christ's  undertaking  ;  '  He  came  to 
destroy  the  works  of  the  devil'  And  surely  his  end  will  not  be  frus- 
trated :  Rom.  vi.  11,  '  Likewise  reckon  ye  yourselves  to  be  dead  indeed 
unto  sin,  but  alive  unto  God.'  Therefore  you  may  see  it  a-dying,  and 
Christ  destroyeth  the  power  of  sin  by  degrees,  putting  an  enmity  in 
your  hearts  against  it :  Gen.  iii.  15,  '  I  will  put  enmity  between  thee 
and  the  woman,  and  between  thy  seed  and  her  seed.'  Sin  dieth  as  our 
love  dieth  to  it ;  they  grow  every  day  more  free  from  it,  as  heretofore 
from  righteousness.  The  devil  seeks  to  increase  sin,  but  Christ  to 
destroy  it.  When  he  hath  once  rescued  the  prey  out  of  Satan's  hands, 
he  will  maintain  his  interest  against  all  the  powers  of  darkness :  Eph. 
vi.  10,  11,  *  Be  strong  in  the  Lord,  and  in  the  power  of  his  might ;  for 
we  fight  not  against  flesh  and  blood.'  The  war  is  not  only  against 
visible  enemies,  nor  against  internal  passions  and  lusts,  but  against 
spiritual  wickednesses.  Yet  the  divine  grace  is  sufficient;  we  have  God's 
Spirit  against  the  evil  spirit :  1  John  iv.  4,  '  Greater  is  he  that  is  in 
you  than  he  that  is  in  the  world.' 

[3.]  The  being  of  sin  shall  at  length  be  destroyed;  for  the  final 
victory  is  sure  and  near,  for  Christ  will  perfect  the  conquest  which  he 
hath  begun  :  Rom.  xvi.  20,  '  The  God  of  peace  shall  tread  Satan  under 
our  feet  shortly.'  At  death  sin  is  totally  disannulled,  and  then  sin 
shall  gasp  its  last,  and  the  physician  of  souls  will  then  perfect  the  cure. 
The  Papists  say,  as  Bellarmine,  that  either  we  must  be  perfect  before 
death,  or  in  purgatory  after  death.  I  answer — As  we  are  sinners  in 
the  first  moment  of  our  birth,  so  after  death  no  more  sinners  ;  no,  not 
in  the  last  moment  of  expiration.  Christ  taketli  time  to  finish  his 
work.  No  sinner  doth  enter  into  the  state  of  bliss.  Death  doth  remove 
us  from  this  sinful  flesh,  and  admits  the  soul  into  the  sight  of  God, 
which  is  in  that  instant  perfected ;  as  remove  the  veil,  and  light  break- 
eth  in  all  of  a  sudden. 

Object.  1.  How  doth  Christ  destroy  the  works  of  the  devil,  since 
the  kingdom  of  sin  and  Satan  yet  remaineth  in  so  great  a  part  of  the 
world  ? 

Object.  2.  How  doth  Christ  destroy  the  works  of  the  devil,  since  many 
of  Christ's  own  people  are  sorely  assaulted,  shaken,  and  many  times 
foiled  by  the  devil  ? 

(1.)  For  the  general  case.  In  time  Christ  doth  destroy  them,  all 
the  opposite  reigns  or  kingdoms,  the  kingdom  of  sin,  Satan,  and  death. 
Christians  have  no  enemy  to  their  happiness  but  such  as  shall  be  con- 
quered by  Christ ;  sooner  or  later  he  will  overcome  them  all.    Yet,  for 

YeR.  8.]  SEEMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  TIL  57 

the  present,  this  destruction  is  not  so  universal  but  that  sin  and  Satan 
do  still  continue.  There  is  not  a  total  destruction  of  these  things,  but 
an  absolute  subjection  to  the  mediatorial  kingdom ;  they  are  so  far 
destroyed  as  they  cannot  hinder  the  salvation  of  the  elect ;  they  are 
destroyed  so  far  that  they  shall  not  hinder  the  demonstration  of  his 
luercy  to  them  ;  but  as  they  are  subservient  to  the  demonstration  of 
liis  justice,  error  is  so  far  continued.  In  reprobate  and  damned  souls, 
the  spot  of  sin  remaineth  in  its  perfect  dye,  the  dominion  of  sin  con- 
tinueth  in  its  absolute  power.  Gruilt  is  an  obligation  to  eternal  pain  ; 
but  all  this  in  a  subjection  to  his  throne.  Some  continue  slaves  to 
Satan,  and  evermore  remain  so,  and  we  are  not  altogether  gotten  free 
from  Satan's  power.  God  hath  a  ministry  for  the  devil  in  the  world. 
Absolute  subjection  to  Christ  is  at  the  day  of  judgment ;  the  infernal 
spirits  shall  then  bow  the  knee  to  Christ,  as  things  in  heaven  and  on 
earth,  and  things  under  the  earth :  Phil.  ii.  10,  compared  with  Rom. 
xiv.  10, 11,  and  Isa.  xlv.  23, '  Unto  me  every  knee  shall  bow,  and  every 
tongue  shall  swear.'  The  saints  shall  then  judge  angels,  2  Cor.  vi.  2. 
God  hath  a  ministry  for  Satan  to  punish  careless  souls,  to  hinder  the 
word,  inject  ill  thoughts,  lay  snares,  raise  persecution,  sow  tares,  accuse 
and  trouble  the  faithful,  vex  their  bodies  as  he  did  Job  ;  so  Paul  had 
a  messenger  of  Satan,  some  racking  pain  in  his  body,  the  stone  or  gout, 
or  the  like. 

(2.)  As  to  the  second  case,  I  answer — To  try  and  exercise  the  godly, 
Job  i.  12.  The  godly  are  sometimes  foiled,  and  yield  to  his  tempta- 
tions, yet  not  taken  captive  by  him  at  his  will  and  pleasure.  He  may 
prevail  in  some  cases  on  them,  as  he  did  on  David:  1  Chron.  xxi.  1, 
'  And  Satan  stood  up  against  Israel,  and  provoked  David  to  number 
the  people.'  All  watchfulness  should  be  used  :  1  Cor.  vii.  5,  '  That 
Satan  tempt  you  not  for  your  incontinency  ; '  2  Cor.  xi.  2,  3,  '  For  I 
am  jealous  over  you  with  a  godly  jealousy  ;  for  I  have  espoused  you 
to  one  husband,  that  I  may  present  you  a  chaste  virgin  to  Christ.     But 

1  fear  lest  by  any  means,  as  the  serpent  beguiled  Eve  through  his  sub- 
tilty.'     They  may  be  drawn,  in  some  rare  case,  to  some  particular  sin : 

2  Sam.  xi.  4,  'And  David  sent  messengers,  and  took  her,  and  came  in 
unto  her,  and  lay  with  her;'  whereby  God  may  be  dishonoured  :  2  Sam. 
xii.  14,  '  By  this  deed  thou  hast  given  occasion  to  the  enemies  of  God 
to  blaspheme;'  or  to  mar  their  own  peace:  Ps.  xxxii.  3,  4,  '  When  I 
kept  silence,  my  bones  waxed  old,  through  my  roaring  all  the  day  long ; 
for  day  and  night  thy  hand  was  heavy  upon  me  :  my  moisture  is  turned 
into  the  drought  of  summer.'  He  may  assault  them  for  their  exercise, 
yet  not  touch  them  with  a  deadly  wound :  1  John  v.  18,  '  He  that  is 
begotten  of  God  kee^ieth  himself,  and  the  wicked  one  toucheUi  him 
not;'  so  as  to  overcome  and  destroy  their  salvation:  1  Cor.  x.  13, 
'Who  will  not  suffer  you  to  be  tempted  above  that  you  are  able,  but 
will  with  the  temptation  make  a  way  to  escape,  that  ye  may  be  able 
to  bear  it.'  This  opposition  is  an  evidence  when  wc  feel  it,  or  groan 
under  it,  otherwise  they  would  be  at  peace:  Luke  xi.  21,  '  When  the 
strong  man  keeps  the  house,  his  goods  are  in  peace  ; '  as  when  wind 
and  tide  go  together,  there  is  calm.  When  they  feel  it :  Rom.  vii.  9, 
'  When  the  commandment  came,  sin  revived,  and  I  died  ; '  and  groan 
under  it :  ver.  24,  '  0  wretched  man  that  I  am  !  who  shall  deliver  me 


from  the  body  of  this  death  ?  '  Eev.  xli.  12,  '  For  the  devil  is  come  down 
imto  you,  having  great  wrath,  because  he  knows  he  hath  but  a  short 
time.'     Dying  beasts  bite  shrewdly. 

Use  1.  Let  us  not  cherish  sin.  It  doth  not  become  christians  to 
cherish  what  Christ  came  to  disannul,  to  build  again  what  he  came 
to  destroy,  to  tie  those  cords  and  knots  the  faster  which  he  came  to 
unloose.  As  much  as  in  you  lieth,  you  seek  to  dissolve  the  work  of 
Christ,  and  put  your  Eedeemer  to  shame. 

2.  Our  condemnation  is  just  and  clear  if  we  do  not  cast  out  sin,  having 
so  much  help.  Will  you  by  your  voluntary  consent  give  Satan  an 
advantage  ? 

3.  It  is  our  comfort  to  feel  the  effects  of  Christ's  dominion,  in  sub- 
duing the  work  of  Satan  within  us,  when  the  Lord  Jesus  taketh  the 
throne  in  our  hearts,  and  doth  deliver  us  from  the  slavery  of  corrup- 
tion: John  viii.  32,  'And  the  truth  shall  make  you  free,' 

Use  2.  If  you  find  anything  of  the  works  of  the  devil  in  you,  run  to 
Christ,  though  your  souls  are  entangled. 

1.  Make  your  moan  to  him  :  Rom.  vii.  24,  *  0  wretched  man  that  I 
am  !  who  shall  deliver  me  from  the  body  of  this  death  ?  '  Wherefore 
is  Christ  a  Saviour  but  for  sinners  ;  wherefore  a  Redeemer  but  for 
captives  ?  Will  Christ  be  a  Saviour,  and  save  none ;  a  Redeemer,  and 
redeem  none  ? 

2.  Let  us  depend  upon  the  fulness  of  his  merit.  The  reason  why 
the  converted  find  so  little  effect  of  Christ's  purchase  is  because  they 
make  so  little  use  of  their  interest  in  him.  Let  us  conquer  during  the 
conflict  by  faith.  We  have  burdensome  corruptions  that  exercise  us, 
grieve  the  Spirit,  wrong  Christ,  but  they  shall  be  overcome  at  last. 
We  have  heard,  and  read,  and  prayed,  yet  still  they  remain  ;  but  Christ's 
undertaking  cannot  be  frustrated;  our  pride  and  passion  shall  not 
always  last. 

3.  Let  us  give  up  ourselves  to  be  ruled  by  him,  willing  to  be  the 
Lord's  servants  :  Mat.  xi.  29,  'Take  my  yoke  upon  you,  and  learn  of 
me,  for  I  am  meek  and  lowly  in  heart ;  and  you  shall  find  rest  to  your 

4.  Let  the  beginning  of  the  work  assure  you  of  the  perfection  of  it ; 
he  that  hath  begun  to  pardon  our  sins  will  at  length  pronounce  our 
full  absolution. 

5.  Let  us  apply  all  this  to  the  sacrament  ;  here  we  lenew  our  vow, 
not  to  cherish  sin,  lest  we  cross  our  Redeemer's  undertaking;  here  we 
express  our  confidence  of  the  fruits  of  his  death,  according  to  the  word. 
We  thankfully  commemorate  his  grace,  by  which  Satan  is  and  will  be 
more  and  more  vanquished  :  we  see  him  falling.  We  admire  Christ's 
condescension,  that  he  will  give  us  to  eat  of  his  own  meat,  and  drink 
of  his  own  cup,  2  Sam.  xii.  3.  We  look  upon  this  table  as  spread  for 
us  in  the  sight  of  our  enemies:  Ps.  xxiii.  5,  'Thou  preparest  a  table 
for  me  in  the  presence  of  mine  enemies  ; '  maugre  their  malice.  We 
are  well  provided  for  in  Christ,  though  they  grieve  to  see  the  riches  of 
his  bounty  to  us  and  care  for  us.  A  royal  feast  and  banquet  it  is, 
which  our  enemies  may  snarl  at,  but  cannot  impeach  and  hinder  ;  and 
we  take  it  as  a  pledge  of  our  everlasting  triumph,  which  we  are  shortly 
entering  upon. 

VeR  9.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  59 


Wliosoever  -is  horn  of  God  doth  not  commit  sin,  for  Ms  seed  remaineth 
in  him  ;  and  he  cannot  sin,  because  he  is  horn  of  God. — 1  John 
iii.  9. 

This  verse  is  a  perfect  antithesis,  or  standetli  in  direct  opposition  to 
the  former.  There  he  reasoneth  against  a  sinful  life,  because  the  com- 
mitting of  sin  argueth  conformity  to  the  devil,  who  is  the  great  architect 
of  all  wickedness,  and  sinners  are  of  his  confederacy  and  party.  Now 
he  reasoneth,  on  the  contrary  part,  that  non-committing  of  sin  argueth 
conformity  with  God  :  '  He  that  committeth  sin  is  of  tlie  devil,  for  the 
devil  sinneth  from  the  beginning  ; '  that  was  his  argument  there  ;  but 
here  he  argueth  from  the  principle  of  all  grace  and  goodness,  '  Whoso- 
ever is  born  of  God  doth  not  commit  sin,'  &c. 

In  the  words  there  is  an  assertion,  with  its  reasons  annexed — 

1.  The  assertion  attributeth  two  things  to  the  regenerate  person — 
(1.)  That  he  doth  not  sin  ;  (2.)  That  he  cannot  sin. 

2.  The  reasons  are  annexed  to  both — (1.)  Because  his  seed  remaineth 
in  him  ;  (2.)  Because  he  is  born  of  God. 

The  words  need  a  clear  discussion,  that  they  may  not  be  abused  by 
erroneous  persons  on  the  one  side,  to  establish  the  impeccability  and 
perfection  of  the  saints  ;  on  the  other  side,  by  persons  of  a  weak  and 
tender  conscience,  who  are  apt  to  conclude  against  their  own  regenera- 
tion because  of  their  daily  failings  ;  nor  by  a  third  party,  who,  because 
of  these  infirmities,  and  on  the  presumption  of  grace  xeceived,  are  apt 
to  intermit  their  care  and  diligence,  as  if  the  new  nature  would  preserve 
them,  and  bear  them  out  against  all  possibility  of  declining  from  God 
and  the  ways  of  holiness. 

Therefore  I  shall — (1.)  Acquaint  you  with,  or  lay  down,  some  pre- 
liminary considerations  ;  (2.)  Acquaint  you  with  the  different  thoughts 
of  sundry  interpreters ;  (3.)  Assert  the  true  sense  of  the  words ;  (4.) 
Vindicate  them  from  abuses. 

First,  The  preliminary  propositions. 

1.  That  there  is  not  a  man  upon  earth  that  sinneth  not,  believers 
and  persons  regenerate  as  well  as  others :  Eccles.  vii.  20,  '  There  is  not 
a  just  man  upon  earth,  that  doeth  good,  and  sinneth  not  ; '  and  James 
iii.  2,  '  In  many  things  we  offend  all.'  Of  us,  even  the  holiest  and 
most  regenerate  commit  many  acts  of  sin. 

2.  That  notwithstanding  this,  there  is  a  difference  between  the  carnal 
and  the  regenerate  :  ver.  10,  '  In  this  the  children  of  God  are  manifest, 
and  the  children  of  the  devil.'  Otherwise  the  god]y  and  ungodly 
would  be  confounded,  and  there  would  be  no  difference  between  the 
wicked  and  the  sincere.  Certain  there  is  a  people  that  do  not  sin  as 
otiiers,  and,  in  a  good  and  commodious  sense,  cannot  sin  :  Deut.  xxxii. 
9,  '  Tiieir  spot  is  not  the  spot  of  his  children.' 

Secondly,  I  shall  show  the  different  thoughts  of  men  about  this  place. 
Ambrose  interpreteth  it  of  the  state  of  glory,  where  there  is  no  more 
sin  ;  but  it  agreeth  not  with  this  place  ;  for  the  apostle  speaketh  of  the 
state  of  the  regenerate  in  this  life,  and  would  lay  down  a  sign  by  which 
the  children  of  God  may  be  distinguished  from  the  children  of  the 


devil,  ver.  10.  It  is  true  our  perfect  state  in  heaven  is  spoken  of,  ver. 
2  ;  but  the  apostle  is  off  from  that  argument,  and  inferreth  thence  our 
hohness  :  ver.  3,  *  He  that  hath  this  hope  in  him  purifieth  himself  as 
Christ  is  pure.'  Others,  as  Austin  in  his  book  of  nature  and  grace, 
chap,  xiv.,  supposeth  the  apostle  speaketh  dejure,  what  should  be  of 
right,  and  not  de  facto  ;  not  what  is,  but  what  should  be,  viz.,  that  he 
that  is  born  of  God  should  not  sin.  But  this  will  not  suit  with  the 
apostle's  scope,  which  is  to  lay  down  a  mark  of  difference,  and  the 
unregenerate  are  under  an  obligation  not  to  sin.  Neither  will  it  consist 
with  the  reason  here  alleged,  '  His  seed  remaineth  in  him.'  If  the  jus 
were  considered,  this  argument  would  do  better,  because  sin  is  forbidden 
by  the  law,  from  whence  right  and  wrong  is  determined  ;  but  the 
apostle  argueth  from  the  remaining  principle  of  grace,  which  is  proper 
to  the  regenerate.  Some  understand  it,  as  Bernard,  of  God's  non-impu- 
tation of  sin ;  he  sinneth,  but  it  is  not  reckoned  for  sin.  But  though 
this  would  agree  with  the  former  part,  '  committeth  not  sin,'  yet  it 
would  not  with  the  latter,  '  cannot  sin  ; '  for  God  may  impute  sin, 
though  he  will  not.  And  it  establisheth  evil  doctrine  ;  for  the  evil 
acts  of  the  regenerate  are  sins  in  God's  account,  and  damnable  in  them- 
selves, merito  operis,  and  so  should  be  reckoned  by  us.  Others  say 
that  it  is  very  absurd,  very  unbecoming  ;  so  '  cannot '  is  taken  for  a  moral 
cannot,  not  a  natural  cannot,  which  noteth  a  monstrous  incongruity, 
not  an  utter  impossibility :  Gen.  xxxix.  9,  '  How  can  I  do  this  great 
wickedness,  and  sin  against  God  ?  '  So  Acts  i.  20,  '  We  cannot  but 
speak  the  things  which  we  have  heard  and  seen.'  The  heart,  as  thus 
constituted,  cannot  be  brought  to  it :  1  Cor.  x.  21,  'We  cannot  drink 
of  the  cup  of  the  Lord  and  the  cup  of  devils ;  we  cannot  be  partakers 
of  the  Lord's  table  and  the  table  of  devils.'  That  it  is  very  absurd 
and  unbecoming :  Gen.  xxix.  8,  'We  cannot  roll  away  the  stone  till  all 
the  flocks  be  gathered  together.'  It  is  not  the  law  and  custom  and 
fashion  among  us. 

Thirdl}^  To  state  the  true  sense  of  these  words — (1.)  I  must  open 
the  assertion  ;  (2.)  Give  the  reasons  ;  (3.)  Show  the  cogency  of  them. 

1.  The  assertion. 

[1.]  '  He  doth  not  commit  sin.'  It  is  not  to  be  understood,  com- 
mitteth no  act  of  sin  at  all,  but  he  walketh  not  ordinarily  and  custom- 
arily in  any  course  of  known  sin ;  he  doth  not  sin  as  wicked  men  or  as 
the  unregenerate  are  wont  to  sin.  So 'Job  appealeth  to  God,  chap.  x. 
7,  '  Thou  knowest  that  I  am  not  wicked.'  He  dui-st  not  avouch  it  to 
God  that  he  was  not  a  sinner,  but  that  he  was  not  a  wicked  sinner : 
Ps.  xviii.  21,  '  I  have  kept  the  ways  of  the  Lord,  and  have  not  wickedly 
departed  from  my  God,'  saith  David  ;  and  we  read  of  ungodly  deeds  un- 
godlily  committed,  Jude  15.  Where  lieth  the  difference  ?  The  habitual 
inclination  is  to  please  God,  yea,  that  is  the  drift,  scope,  and  business 
of  their  lives ;  and  therefore  they  do  not  cherish  any  evil  habit  and 
disposition  of  soul,  nor  easily  fall  into  acts  of  wilful  sin. 

(1.)  Certainly  he  doth  not  fall  into  any  course  of  inordinate  living 
in  the  world.  There  is  a  way  of  sinning  which  the  scripture  speaketh 
of,  when  men  walk  after  the  flesh,  or  after  their  own  lusts :  Rom.  viii. 
1,  '  Who  walk  not  after  the  flesh  ; '  2  Peter  iii.  3,  '  Walking  after  their 
own  lusts ; '  and  '  living  after  the  flesh,'  Rom.  viii.  13. 

VeU.  9.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  Gl 

(2).  As  to  particular  sinful  acts  there  is  a  difference ;  there  are  three 
sorts  of  sins — 

(1st.)  Some  that  are  bare  simple  infirmities,  which  a  man  cannot 
avoid,  though  he  would;  as  the  first  motions  and  risings  of  corruption, 
imperfections  of  duty,  want  of  some  degrees  of  love,  reverence,  and 
delight  in  God  when  we  are  employed  in  his  immediate  service,  vain 
thoughts.  These  are  sins  ;  though  not  to  be  avoided  by  the  ordinary 
aids  of  grace  vouchsafed  to  God's  people,  yet  they  are  forbidden  in  the 
law  of  God.  God's  law  is  not  imperfect,  though  our  natures  be  so. 
These  came  in  by  the  fall.  Adam  in  innocency  knew  no  such  things  ; 
therefore  they  are  to  be  bewailed  by  us  ;  but  these  are  pardoned  on  a 
general  repentance,  as  we  address  ourselves  to  God  every  day,  and  re- 
new the  exercise  of  faith  and  repentance  :  John  xiii.  10,  '  He  that  is 
washed  needeth  not  save  to  wash  his  feet,  but  is  clean  every  whit ;  and 
ye  are  clean,  but  not  all.'  They  do  not  change  our  state,  nor  vacate 
our  right  to  the  promises. 

(2dly.)  There  are  comparative  sins  of  infirmity,  which  are  infirmities 
of  a  middle  sort ;  not  bare  weaknesses  and  frailties  incident  to  our 
imperfect  state,  but  such  as  we  might  forbear  if  we  kept  a  strict  watch 
over  our  own  hearts,  and  improved  the  grace  and  strength  offered  and 
received  ;  as  vain,  idle,  passionate  speeches,  censurings,  whisperings, 
discontent,  rash  anger,  and  the  like.  Now  a  child  of  God,  tlirough 
suddenness  and  unadviseduess,  may  break  out  into  some  lesser  escapes 
in  this  kind,  but  to  allow  ourselves  in  them  would  not  stand  with 
sincerity.  It  is  treason  to  coin  a  penny  as  well  as  a  pound-piece  ;  there- 
fore these  comparative  infirmities  should  be  prevented  by  our  utmost 
diligence,  though  they  do  not  amount  to  gross  enormities  (such  as 
drunkenness,  gluttony,  adultery,  hatred  of  the  brethren,  false-witness- 
ings).  Though  a  christian  cannot  wholly  subdue  them,  yet  we  must 
not  suffer  these  to  be  unresisted  and  unrepented  of,  and  in  some  measure 
we  must  overcome  them.  Anger  will  stir  when  we  are  provoked,  but 
by  the  ordinary  assistance  of  God's  grace  we  should  keep  it  from  run- 
ning out  into  furious  words  and  actions,  or  cursing  and  swearing  or 
reviling.  An  envious  thought  may  arise  against  our  brother  because 
he  is  preferred  before  us ;  but  we  should  hate  it,  and  labour  to  keep  it 
under,  chide  ourselves  for  it;  do  not  let  our  envy  break  out  into  malig- 
nant detraction  from  their  worth,  blemishing  their  gifts  and  graces. 
A  child  of  God  will  feel  the  ticklings  of  pride,  but  he  will  not  suffer 
it  to  break  out  into  boasting  language.  So  for  distrust  and  discontent ; 
it  is  some  conquest  to  dash  Babylon's  brats  against  the  stones.  We  read 
of  Achan,  Joshua  vii.  21, '  That  he  saw  among  the  spoils  a  goodly  Baby- 
lonish garment,  and  two  hundred  shekels  of  silver,  and  a  wedge  of  gold 
of  fifty  shekels;  then  he  coveted  them,  and  then  he  took  them.'  A  child  of 
God  doth  ordinarily  stop  at  the  first  and  second  pass.  There  may  be  an 
inordinate  desire  of  what  we  see ;  our  senses  may  betray  our  souls ; 
but  though  they  covet,  they  do  not  steal ;  they  are  not  drawn  to  lying, 
or  deceit,  or  unjust  dealing  to  get  it.  Some  motions  of  revenge  they  may 
have,  but  they  do  not  break  out  into  mischievous  and  vindictive  acts. 
So  for  sensuality  ;  there  may  be  inordinate  motions,  and  fleshly  desires, 
or  urging  inclinations ;  but  they  are  checked,  and  stopped  from  break- 
ing out  into  drunkenness,   gluttony,  uncleanness,  lasciviousncss,  in 

62  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XIV. 

speeches  or  actions,  or  making  provision  for  the  flesh  to  fulfil  the 
lusts  thereof.  In  short,  there  may  be  sluggishness ;  we  may  be  affected 
Avith  the  ease  of  the  flesh,  but  we  will  not  suffer  it  to  withdraw  us  from 
God,  or  grossly  to  neglect  the  duties  of  our  general  and  particular 

(ddly.)  There  are  great  enormities,  or  gross  and  scandalous  sins  ;  now 
in  this  a  christian  doth  not  ordinarily  sin.  In  some  rare  case,  by  the 
suddenness  or  violence  of  some  great  temptation,  they  may  be  over- 
taken or  overborne,  but  they  therein  act  quite  contrary  to  their  habitual 
resolutions  and  ordinary  practice ;  and  when  they  commit  them,  they 
do  not  lie  dead  in  sin,  though  shrewdly  bruised,  diseased,  and  dis- 
tempered: these  do  not  commit  them  with  an  habitual  hatred  and 
contempt  of  God,  though  they  proceed  from  a  less  love.  They  have 
an  habitual  love  and  fear  of  God ;  as  Peter,  that  denied  Christ  out  of 
fear,  yet  telleth  him,  '  Lord,  thou  knowest  I  love  thee,'  John  xxi.  18. 
But  this  love  is  obstructed  for  the  time,  and  by  this  violent  shock 
grace  is  so  hindered  that  it  cannot  obtain  its  effect  ;  they  do  not  con- 
sider what  unkindness  it  is  to  commit  such  sins.  So  their  faith,  though 
it  failethnot,  as  it  did  in  Peter,  is  obstructed,  so  that  they  cannot  for  the 
present  counterbalance  the  pleasures  of  sin  with  the  danger  of  it ;  or 
if  they  do  consider  these  things,  it  is  but  coldly  and  carelessly.  In 
short,  they  may  fail  in  the  degree  of  affection  to  God,  but  they  do  not 
change  God  for  sin ;  there  are  dislikes  and  checks  which  arise  from 
the  new  nature,  yet  they  are  not  strong  enough  for  the  present  to  defeat 
the  temptation,  and  though  they  be  for  a  time  foiled,  yet  they  cannot 
rest  or  persist  in  sin :  Jer.  viii.  4,  '  Shall  they  fall,  and  not  arise  ?  '  A 
fountain  muddied  soon  worketh  itself  clean  again  ;  the  needle  in  the 
compass  may  be  jogged  and  discomposed,  but  it  turneth  to  the  pole 
again.  There  is  a  sudden  recovery ;  as  a  candle  sucketh  light  as  soon 
as  it  is  blown  out  more  easily  than  a  dead  wick.  Their  hearts  may 
smite  them,  as  David's  did  for  numbering  the  people,  2  Sam.  xxiv.  10. 
They  bewail  their  sins :  Mat.  xxvi.  75,  '  Peter  went  out,  and  wept 
bitterly.'  They  run  to  their  advocate:  1  John  ii.  1,  '  If  any  man  sin, 
we  have  an  advocate  with  the  Father,  Jesus  Christ  the  righteous.'  Sue 
out  their  pardon  :  2  Sam.  xxiv.  10,  '  I  have  sinned  greatly  in  that  I  have 
done  ;  now  I  beseech  thee  take  away  the  iniquity  of  thy  servant.'  They 
relapse  not,  unless  it  be  before  the  wound  be  well  closed  and  healed. 
Thus  they  do  not  sin. 

[2.]  Tliey  cannot  sin.  In  a  regenerate  man  there  is  an  aversion  of 
heart  and  mind  from  it.  He  doth  not  simply  abstain  from  sinning,  but 
he  cannot  commit  sin  ;  he  hath  a  strong,  potent  inclination  and  disposi- 
tion, which  carrieth  him  another  way  ;  his  soul  is  averse  from  it.  A  child 
of  God  is  never  in  a  right  posture  till  he  doth  look  upon  sin  not  only 
as  contrary  to  his  duty,  but  his  nature  ;  it  is  an  unnatural  production, 
as  if  a  sheep,  instead  of  a  lamb,  should  bring  forth  a  serpent :  'A  thorn 
cannot  bring  forth  grapes,  nor  will  a  thistle  produce  figs.'  And  on  the 
contrary,  hips  and  haws  do  not  grow  upon  vines,  but  every  tree  bring- 
eth  forth  fruit  suitable  to  its  own  nature  ;  so  one  that  hath  a  new 
nature  showeth  itself  by  eschewing  of  sin  and  by  pursuing  the  death 
of  sin.  It  is  as  natural  to  the  new  nature  to  hale  sin,  as  to  love  God  : 
Ps.  xcvii.  10,  '  Ye  that  love  the  Lord  hate  evil.'     There  is  in  it  an 

VeR.  9.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  63 

irreconcilable  hatred  and  enmity  against  sin.  There  is  a  twofold  hatred — 
odium  abcminationis  et  odium  inimicitice,  the  hatred  of  offence,  whereby 
we  turn  away  from  what  we  apprehend  to  be  repugnant  and  prejudi- 
cial to  us ;  so  is  sin  repugnant  and  contrary  to  the  renewed  will.  It 
is  agreeable  and  suitable  to  the  unregenerate  as  draff  to  the  appetite 
of  a  swine,  and  grass  and  hay  to  a  bullock  and  horse  ;  but  to  a  renewed 
man,  as  meat  that  we  loathe  and  have  an  antipathy  against.  Now  there 
is  in  all  these  that  are  born  of  God  this  kind  of  hatred  and  antipathy 
against  sin  ;  it  is  an  offence  to  them.  Then  there  is  odium  inimicitice, 
a  hatred  of  enmity  and  hostility,  which  is  a  seeking  the  destruction  of 
what  we  hate  ;  we  pursue  it  to  the  death.  Thus  the  regenerate  hate 
sin  ;  they  mortify  and  subdue  it,  and  have  no  satisfaction  in  themselves 
till  it  be  destroyed  :  tion  cessat  in  Icesione  peccati,  sed  in  exterminio  : 
Ptom.  vii.  24,  '  0  wretched  man  that  I  am  !  who  shall  deliver  me  from 
the  body  of  this  death  ?  '  Now  the  heart  of  a  renewed  man  being  thus 
constituted,  they  cannot  sin  as  others  do  ;  they  are  settled  in  such  a  love 
to  God  and  hatred  of  sin,  they  cannot  be  at  the  beck  and  command  of 
every  lust,  as  they  were  before.  Velleius  Paterculus  saith  of  Cato 
Minor,  that  he  had  gotten  such  a  just  frame  and  constitution  of  soul, 
that  he  could  not  but  do  justly.  So  the  renewed  are  so  set  and  framed, 
there  is  such  a  new  life  and  a  holy  nature  planted  in  them  by  God, 
that  they  cannot  sin,  that  is,  live  and  lie  in  sin,  whatever  out  of  infir- 
mity they  may  fall  into. 

2.  For  the  reasons,  they  are  two,  '  Because  they  are  born  of  God  ; ' 
and  '  The  seed  of  God  remaineth  in  them.' 

[1.]  The  general  reason,  from  their  change  of  state. 
(1.)  What  is  it  to  be  born  of  God  ?  It  is  to  have  a  new  life  and 
nature  wrought  in  us.  To  be  made  by  God  is  one  thing,  to  be  born 
of  God  is  another.  All  things  are  made  by  God,  but  all  things  are 
not  said  to  be  born  of  him;  that  is  a  terra  proper  to  the  new  creature. 
In  every  perfect  generation,  that  which  is  born  receiveth  from  him 
that  begets  it  life  and  likeness.  Likeness  is  not  enough  to  constitute 
a  birth.  An  exquisite  limner  may  draw  an  exact  picture  of  himself, 
yet  the  picture  is  not  said  to  be  begotten  or  born  of  him,  for  there  is 
no  life.  And  life  alone  is  not  enough  ;  for  putrid  creatures,  as  frogs, 
toads,  worms,  animated  and  quickened  by  the  heat  of  the  sun,  are  not 
said  to  be  born  of  it,  because  there  is  no  likeness.  When  a  man 
begets  a  man  in  his  own  image  and  likeness,  then  he  is  said  to  be 
born.  To  apply  it  to  the  case  in  hand :  When  we  who  were  dead 
in  trespasses  and  sins  are  framed  anew  to  the  life  and  likeness  of  God, 
we  are  said  to  be  born  of  him.  Life  there  is  :  Eph.  ii.  1,  '  And  you 
who  were  dead  in  trespasses  and  sins  hath  he  quickened.'  Likeness, 
or  a  nature  in  some  sort  resembling  God  :  2  Peter  i.  4,  '  Whereby  are 
given  unto  us  exceeding  great  and  precious  promises,  that  by  these 
you  might  be  partakers  of  the  divine  nature  ; '  Eph.  iv.  24,  '  And  that 
ye  put  on  the  new  man,  which  after  God  is  created  in  righteou.sness, 
and  true  holiness.'  Now  surely  such  a  nature  incliueth  us  to  obey 
God  and  love  him. 

(2.)  How  this  hindereth  that  we  do  not  and  cannot  sin. 
(ist.)  Because  this  change  wrought  in  us  by  the  wonderful  opera- 
tion of  God's  Spirit  puts  a  new  bent  and  bias  upon  us :  John  iii.  G, 

64  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XIV. 

'  That  which  is  born  of  flesh  is  flesh  ;  and  that  which  is  born  of  Spirit 
is  spirit.'  We  are  changed  from  evil  to  good,  from  obeying  the  flesh 
to  obeying  the  Spirit,  and  inclined  to  live  and  walk  after  the  Spirit, 
Therefore,  this  being  the  scope  of  the  new  nature,  to  live  in  a  strict 
obedience  to  God,  the  reign  of  sin  is  broken,  and  the  acts  of  it  will  be 
much  prevented.  Surely  the  dominion  is  taken  away  by  the  grace  of 
regeneration,  and  the  acts  of  it  cannot  be  as  frequent  as  before. 

{2d.)  He  is  interested  in  the  care  and  protection  of  God.  Who- 
soever is  born  of  God  is  in  covenant  with  him  :  Rom.  vi.  14,  '  For  sin 
shall  not  have  dominion  over  you  ;  for  you  are  not  under  the  law,  but 
under  grace ; '  and  adopted  into  his  family,  under  his  fatherly  care, 
and  God  is  concerned  in  his  preservation  :  1  Peter  i.  5,  '  Who  are  kept 
by  the  power  of  God,  through  faith,  unto  salvation ; '  and  John  x.  28, 
'And  I  give  unto  them  eternal  life,  and  they  shall  never  perish,  neither 
shall  any  pluck  them  out  of  my  hand.'  Christ  therefore  will  not 
desert  them  so  far  as  that  they  should  be  brought  back  again  into  the 
power  and  bondage  of  the  wicked  one,  or  that  they  should  so  fall  into 
sin  as  to  persist  in  it.  Therefore  consider  a  regenerate  person  in  him- 
self, and  he  may  sin  himself  out  of  the  favour  of  God,  and  all  the 
hopes  he  hath  by  Christ ;  but  as  he  is  in  the  hands  of  God,  and  under 
his  care,  his  heart  is  so  governed  and  inclined  by  him,  that  he  cannot 
totally  and  finally  fall  from  the  grace  and  life  of  the  Spirit,  nor  easily 
fall  into  heinous  acts  of  sin,  though  some  infirmities  remain  still. 

[2.]  The  second  reason,  '  Because  the  seed  of  God  remaineth  in 

(1.)  What  is  meant  by  this  seed  of  God?  Some  say  the  word; 
1  Peter  i.  23,  '  Born  again,  not  of  corruptible  seed,  but  incorruptible ; ' 
Mat.  xiii.  19,  'The  good  seed  is  the  word  of  God.'  Not  improper!}'-, 
because  the  word  sown  in  our  hearts  and  rooted  by  faith  is  the  great 
let  and  check  to  sin:  Ps.  cxix.  9,  'Wherewith  shall  a  young  man 
cleanse  his  way  ?  by  taking  heed  thereto  according  to  thy  word  ; '  and 
ver.  11,  '  Thy  word  have  I  hid  in  my  heart,  that  I  might  not  sin 
against  thee ; '  ver.  104,  '  Through  thy  precepts  I  get  understanding  : 
therefore  I  hate  every  false  way ; '  1  John  ii.  24,  '  Let  that  therefore 
abide  in  you,  which  you  have  heard  from  the  beginning  :  if  that  which 
ye  have  heard  from  the  beginning  shall  remain  in  you,  you  shall  con- 
tinue in  the  Son  and  in  the  Father.'  Others  say  this  seed  is  the 
Spirit :  John  iii.  5,  6,  '  Jesus  answered,  Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  thee, 
Except  a  man  be  born  of  water  and  the  Spirit,  he  cannot  enter  into 
the  kingdom  of  God.  That  which  is  born  of  flesh,  is  flesh,  and  that 
which  is  born  of  Spirit,  is  spirit.'  Certainly  the  word  of  God,  if  it  be 
this  seed,  is  to  be  considered  not  in  the  letter,  but  in  the  Spirit ;  for 
the  word  separated  from  the  Spirit  can  do  nothing  to  the  regene- 
rating of  a  sinner.  The  Spirit  is  the  principal  efficient,  the  word  is 
the  instrument.  But  I  think  by  this  seed  of  God  is  understood  the 
effect  of  both,  the  principle  of  grace  infused,  or  that  vital  grace 
whicli  is  communicated  to  us  in  regeneration,  called  living  in  the 
Spirit,  Gal.  v.  25. 

(2.)  How  doth  it  keep  us  from  sinning,  so  that  he  who  is  born  of 
God  doth  not  sin,  and  cannot  sin  ? 

I  answer — This  seed  of  God  may  be  considered  either  as  to  its 

VeR.  9.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  IIL  65 

tendency  and  efficacy,  or  permanency  and  predominancy ;  all  which 
infer  tlie  thing  in  hand. 

{1st.)  Its  tendency.  This  impression  left  upon  the  heart  doth 
cause  it  to  bend  and  tend  towards  God,  that  we  may  serve,  please, 
glorify,  and  enjoy  him.  As  it  came  from  God,  so  it  doth  incline  us 
to  God ;  for  the  tendency  is  according  to  the  principle,  therefore  called 
a  living  to  God,  Gal.  ii.  19.  It  doth  continually  draw  back  from  sin, 
and  urgeth  and  inclineth  to  holiness;  and  therefore,  when  a  man  is 
about  to  sin,  he  cannot  carry  it  on  so  freely,  because  of  the  rebukes 
and  dislikes  of  the  new  nature,  there  being  a  fixed,  settled  frame  and 
bent  of  lieart  towards  God  ;  therefore  the  heart  by  consequence  must 
needs  be  set  against  sin,  which  is  irreconcilable  with  the  motions  and 
tendency  of  the  new  nature. 

i^dly)  Its  efficacy.  The  seed  of  God  is  an  actuous,  vigorous  thing. 
The  word  seed  imports  it;  for  the  spirit  of  the  plant  is  in  it.  If  it  be 
not  a  dead  seed,  we  see  how  it  will  work  through  the  hard  and  dry 
clods  to  produce  its  plant  and  flower  ;  so  is  this  vital  principle  opera- 
tive ;  it  will  not  easily  suffer  us  to  do  an  act  contrary  to  it ;  and  it 
being  a  divine  seed  called  Spirit,  it  is  a  principle  of  great  strength 
and  power.  The  apostle  calleth  it  the  lusting  of  the  Spirit  against 
the  flesh,  Gal.  v.  17.  Now  if  grace  have  any  energy  and  life  in  it,  it 
is  directly  contrary  and  incompatible  with  the  committing  of  any  sin. 
There  is  a  seed  and  principle  in  him,  which  enlighten  and  enliven, 
and  quicken  him  to  serve  and  please  God,  and  therefore  he  is  held 
back  from  sin. 

(Mly.)  As  to  its  permanency,  a  seed  that  remaineth  ;  which  may  be 
understood  both  of  its  own  defixion  and  radication  in  the  heart  of 
man.  It  is  not  a  light  touch,  but  a  thorough  change,  such  an  impres- 
sion of  God  as  becometh  a  habit  and  holy  nature  in  us,  and  is  the 
constant  principle  of  holy,  spiritual  operations ;  and  also  in  regard  of 
God's  continuance  of  it,  for  it  is  one  of  the  gifts  of  which  the  Lord 
repenteth  not,  Kom.  xi.  29.  It  is  so  planted  in  the  heart  by  God  that 
it  is  not  lightly  inclined,  but  thoroughly  set  to  holiness ;  the  good 
and  honest  lieart,  which,  having  received  the  word,  keepeth  it,  Luke 
viii.  15;  a  heart  sound  in  God's  statutes,  Ps.  cxix.  80.  Now  where 
the  heart  is  thoroughly  changed,  soundly  set,  they  do  generally  live 
according  to  the  operation  of  this  seed  and  principle  of  grace,  and  is 
so  governed  and  inclined  by  it,  that  he  doth  constantly  do  the  will  of 
God,  and  war,  and  watch,  and  strive  against  sin. 

{Wdy.)  This  seed  is  considered  according  to  its  prevalency  and  pre- 
dominancy. To  its  prevalency,  it  hath  the  mastery  in  the  soul ;  for 
though  there  be  a  double  principle  in  a  christian,  you  must  not  forget 
the  back  bias  of  corruption,  which  still  remaineth  with  us,  and  is 
importunate  to  be  pleased  ;  but  yet  you  must  carry  it  so  that  you  may 
])lainly  show  it  is  not  superior  in  the  soul,  and  keep  watching  and 
striving,  that  as  little  of  it  may  be  discerned  as  may  be,  that  your  con- 
versations be  not  cast  into  a  carnal  mould,  and  fashioned  according  to 
the  former  lusts  of  your  ignorance,  1  Peter  i,  14,  that  sin  may  be 
mortified  and  beaten  down  more  and  more.  The  apostle  supposeth 
the  best  is  most  powerful,  so  that  a  christian  showeth  himself  spirit 
ratlier  than  flesh.     The  apostle  describeth  him  here  according  to  the 

VOL.  XXI.  E 

66  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeE.  XV. 

operation  of  the  better  part.  The  old  man  in  them  is  crucified,  not 
wholly  dead  indeed,  but  d3ang,  and  greatly  weakened. 

Fourthly,  I  shall  vindicate  the  words  from  abuse. 

Men  think,  if  they  be  regenerate,  the  seed  of  grace  will  preserve 
them  without  any  care  of  their  own.  Herein  they  are  mistaken,  and 
tliat  for  two  reasons — 

1.  Because  there  is  an  active  warring  principle  still  left  in  us  ;  our 
lusts  are  but  in  part  subdued,  and  our  love  to  them  is  so  soon  kindled, 
that  if  we  intermit  our  watching  and  striving,  the  gates  of  the  senses 
are  always  open  to  let  in  such  objects  as  take  part  with  the  flesh ; 
therefore  we  must  be  beating  down  sin  :  1  Cor.  ix.  26,  27,  *  I  therefore 
so  run,  not  as  uncertainly ;  so  fight  I,  not  as  one  that  beateth  the  air  : 
but  I  keep  under  my  body,  and  bring  it  into  subjection.'  What  is 
said  of  the  new  nature  is  not  to  make  us  idle. 

2.  Because  grace  doth  not  work  necessarily,  as  fire  burneth,  but 
voluntarily ;  it  must  be  excited  and  stirred  up,  both  by  the  Spirit  of 
God,  who  giveth  us  to  will  and  to  do,  Phil,  ii,  13,  and  by  ourselves  : 
2  Tim.  i.  6,  '  Wherefore  I  put  thee  in  remembrance,  that  thou  stir  up 
the  gift  of  God  which  is  in  thee.'  We  must  be  still  blowing  up  this 
holy  fire,  and  keep  it  burning,  as  the  priests  did  the  fire  of  the  altar. 
The  bent  of  the  new  nature  must  be  kept  up  with  much  watching, 
striving,  praying,  and  the  use  of  all  holy  means,  and  the  vigour  of  it 


Whosoever  is  horn  of  God  doth  not  commit  sin  ;  for  his  seed  re- 
maineth  in  him  ;  and  he  cannot  sin,  because  he  is  horn  of  God. — 
1  John  iii.  9. 

Use  1.  Is  exhortation,  to  press  5'ou  that  you  are  born  of  God,  or  pro- 
fess yourselves  to  be  so,  to  avoid  sin. 

1.  You  should  look  upon  sin  not  only  as  contrary  to  your  duty,  but 
your  nature  ;  for  the  argument  here  -is  not  taken  from  the  law  of  God, 
but  from  the  temper  and  disposition  of  a  renewed  man.  The  argu- 
ment from  the  law  is  strong  and  binding,  for  no  child  of  God  should 
wittingly  and  willingly  break  his  law.  It  is  urged :  1  John  iii.  4, 
'  Whosoever  committeth  sin  transgresseth  also  the  law  ;  for  sin  is  a 
transgression  of  the  law.'  Every  deliberate  wilful  sin  is  an  act  of  dis- 
loyalty and  rebellion  against  God,  like  Absalom's  treason  against  his 
father.  You  should  not  sin  because  of  the  law  ;  but  here  the  argument 
is  more  pressing  and  close.  '  You  cannot  sin,'  if  you  be  what  you  pro- 
fess to  be,  because  God  hath  given  you  another  nature.  Now  for  you 
not  only  to  offer  violence  to  the  law,  but  to  offer  violence  to  your 
nature,  to  go  against  the  very  constitution  and  frame  of  your  own  hearts, 
as  it  is  renewed  by  God,  will  aggravate  the  guilt  of  the  action. 

2.  The  argument  is  not  taken  from  objective,  but  subjective  grace. 

VeR.  9.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  67 

The  law  forblddetli  sin,  and  grace  offereth  help  and  remedy  against  it. 
What  the  law  condemneth,  grace  teachetli  us  to  avoid.  Now  grace  is 
twofold — objective  in  the  gospel,  subjective  in  the  heart  of  a  believer. 
As,  for  instance,  when  some  are  said  to  turn  the  grace  of  God  into 
lasciviousness,  Jude  4,  is  God's  grace  capable  to  be  turned  into  lust  or 
sin  ?  It  is  objective,  not  subjective  grace,  which  is  there  meant,  the 
doctrine  of  grace,  not  the  internal  grace  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  which 
resideth  in  the  heart  of  a  believer.  Now  objective  grace  yieldeth  a 
notable  argument  against  sin :  Titus  ii.  11,  12,  '  For  the  grace  of  God, 
that  bringeth  salvation,  hath  appeared  to  all  men,  teaching  us  that, 
denying  ungodliness  and  worldly  lusts,  we  should  live  soberly, 
righteously,  and  godly  in  this  present  world.'  How  teachetli  ?  Not  as 
a  man  that  would  teach  one  that  is  ignorant;  but  as  a  man  would  per- 
suade and  quicken  one  that  is  backward.  It  is  more  by  way  of  per- 
suasion than  instruction,  as  the  doctrine  of  grace  containeth  many  power- 
ful arguments  against  sin  ;  and  it  is  a  shame  that  we  do  not  improve 
them  to  better  purpose.  But  here  the  apostle  reasoneth  not  from  objec- 
tive, but  subjective  grace  ;  not  from  the  doctrine  propounded  to  us,  but 
the  seed  which  remaineth  in  us.  Now  this  doth  not  only  persuade  but 
incline  us  to  avoid  sin,  and  yieldeth  us  help  and  strength  against  it. 

3.  This  subjective  grace  is  a  vital  principle,  not  a  lighter  disposition, 
but  a  settled  and  fixed  frame  of  heart  towards  God  and  heavenly  things, 
and  therefore  called  life,  and  a  new  nature,  and  a  divine  nature.  Now 
if  there  be  such  a  principle,  such  a  genius,  such  a  new  nature  put  into 
us,  certainly  upon  the  account  thereof  we  cannot  sin,  as  those  do  who 
have  not  such  a  principle  ;  iox  pynncipiaia  respondent  suis  principiis  ; 
the  constant  effects  declare  what  is  the  principle,  or  principles  are 
known  by  their  proper  actions,  as  fire  by  burning,  and  the  rational 
soul  by  discourse  and  speech.  So  *  if  we  live  in  the  Spirit,  we  must 
walk  in  the  Spirit,'  Gal.  v.  2.5,  and  if  we  have  a  new  heart,  we  must 
show  it  by  newness  of  life,  Rom.  vi.  4.  You  cannot  force  men  from 
their  principles  ;  you  may  put  them  out  of  the  way  a  little,  but  they 
return  to  it  again.  You  see  it  plainly  verified  as  to  the  principle  of 
corruption.  Reason  with  men,  persuade  them,  show  them  their 
danger,  you  may  rouse  them  up  a  little,  yet,  till  God  change  their 
hearts,  they  still  return  to  their  former  courses  :  Jer.  xiii.  23,  '  Can 
the  Ethiopian  change  his  skin,  or  the  leopard  his  spots  ?  then  may  ye 
also  do  good  that  are  accustomed  to  do  evil.'  When  men  are  habi- 
tuated to  evil,  no  means  will  work  it  out  of  them,  or  work  them  to  any 
good.  Nature  will  return,  though  you  seem  never  so  much  to  check  it, 
and  beat  it  back.  Proportionably,  if  grace  be  as  a  new  nature,  you  will 
find  it  work  after  this  sort.  Therefore  it  is  utterly  inconsistent  with 
making  sin  our  trade,  custom,  and  delight.  We  have  felt  the  tyranny 
of  sin,  but  when  we  are  renewed  and  changed,  we  should  also  feel  the 
sacred  power  and  influence  of  grace. 

4.  This  vital  principle  containeth  in  it  an  everlasting  enmity  and 
repugnancy  to  sin,  as  sin  also  doth  to  it :  Gal.  v.  17,  '  The  Spirit 
lusteth  against  the  flesh,  and  the  flesh  lusteth  against  the  Spirit,  for 
these  two  are  contrary  ; '  so  contrary  as  never  to  be  reconciled,  no  more 
than  fire  and  water,  light  and  darkness.  Now  a  man  that  hath  such 
a  contrary  principle  to  sin  in  his  own  bosom  cannot  give  way  to  it 

68  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XV. 

without  great  reluctancies  and  dislikes,  and  checks   from  the  new 
nature.     I  observe  this  for  two  reasons — 

[1.]  Partly  to  show  that  that  doth  somewhat  abate  the  operations 
of  the  opposite  principle  ;  tlie  flesh  cannot  carry  it  so  freely,  you  cannot 
do  what  you  would  in  the  satisfaction  of  your  lusts,  because  of  this 
repugnancy  and  dislike,  Gal.  v.  17.  Therefore,  if  you  sin  freely,  you 
Jiave  not  the  new  nature  in  you,  for  where  it  is  it  will  make  resistance. 
It  is  not  wholly  dead  nor  asleep  ;  if  not  strong  enough  wholly  to  defeat 
the  temptation,  yet  certainly  to  break  the  force  of  it,  that  it  doth  not 
fall  upon  us  with  all  its  weight :  Kom.  vii.  15-17,  '  For  that  which  I 
do  I  allow  not ;  for  what  I  would,  that  do  I  not ;  but  wliat  I  hate, 
that  do  I.  If  then  I  do  that  which  I  would  not,  I  consent  to  the  law 
that  it  is  good.  Now  then  it  is  no  more  I  that  do  it,  but  sin  that 
dwelleth  in  me.'  There  is  a  contrary  principle  indeed,  which  re- 
taineth  some  life  and  vigour ;  yet  surely  in  the  regenerate  it  is  much 
abated ;  there  is  not  such  a  reconcilableness  to  sin  as  there  was  before. 
Grace  serveth  us  for  some  use,  giveth  some  strength,  or  else  why  is  this 
gracious  gift  bestowed  upon  us? 

[2.]  And  partly  to  show  that  these  checks  and  dislikes  do  aggravate 
the  sins  which  we  commit.  We  make  it  an  excuse  ;  I  strive  against 
them,  but  do  not  overcome  them,  and  so  the  striving  is  an  aggravation 
of  the  sin.  Carnal  men  have  their  reluctancies,  which  aggravate  their 
sins ;  as  Pilate  against  the  crucifying  of  Christ,  but  yielded  to  it  at 
length  against  his  own  conscience,  for  his  interest's  sake,  to  preserve 
the  good-will  of  the  people  and  his  credit  in  his  government;  he  would 
fain  have  washed  his  hands  of  it  after  he  yielded  to  it.  Balaam  resisted 
a  while,  but  yielded  at  length  to  the  ways  of  unrighteousness.  The 
conscience  of  most  men  will  bear  back  and  hold  off  for  a  time,  because 
it  apprehendeth  sin  to  be  offensive  to  God  and  destructive  to  the  soul, 
but  the  pleasure  and  profit  of  sin  prevaileth  at  length.  Now  if  these 
reluctancies  of  bare  natural  conscience  may  aggravate  the  rebellion,  and 
make  it  the  greater  crime  for  a  man  to  venture  upon  that  which  is  evil, 
against  the  checks  of  his  own  conscience,  so  much  more  doth  this  reason 
concern  the  people  of  God,  He  that  will  break  through,  not  only  when 
there  is  a  rule  or  law  in  the  way,  but  his  natural  disposition  or  the  bent 
of  a  gracious  heart  in  the  way,  in  the  general,  he  doth  not  only  the 
sinful  act,  but  overcometh  that  which  hindereth  the  doing  of  it ;  he 
hath  somewhat  in  his  bosom  to  the  contrary.  Look,  as  it  argued  Christ's 
love  to  lay  down  his  life  notwithstanding  the  innocent  reluctancies  of 
his  human  nature,  Mat.  xxvi.  39,  these  words,  '  Father,  let  this  cup 
pass,'  did  not  argue  his  unwillingness,  but  willingness  ;  '  Nevertheless, 
Father,  not  as  I  will,  but  as  thou  wilt ; '  we  should  not  have  understood 
the  greatness  of  his  love  nor  the  dreadfulness  of  his  sufi"erings  if  the 
human  nature  had  not  showed  its  just  abhorrency  against  them ;  so  it 
;argueth  the  great  heinousness  of  sin  to  break  through  notwithstanding 
these  reluctancies,  not  only  of  enlightened  conscience,  but  the  renewed 
heart.  If  unrenewed  men's  sins  are  aggravated  by  the  dislikes  of 
conscience,  which  pleads  God's  right  and  our  duty,  so  much  more  will 
renewed  men's  sins  be  aggravated  by  the  rebukes  of  the  new  nature, 
which  not  only  show  our  duty,  or  excite  us  to  our  duty,  but  give 
Us  help  and  strength  to  perform  it,  and  are  so  notable  a  check  to  sin. 

VeR.  9.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  69 

5.  There  is  not  only  an  express  contrariety  to  sin,  but  a  predomi- 
nancy above  if.  He  that  is  born  of  God  hath  indeed  two  principles  of 
operations  in  him,  but  the  one  hath  the  mastery  over  the  other,  and  is 
superior  in  the  soul,  else  he  could  not  be  said  to  be  born  of  God  :  John 
iii.  6,  'That  which  is  born  of  the  Spirit  is  spirit.'  The  best  principle 
is  the  most  powerful ;  so  that  a  christian  showeth  himself  to  be  spirit 
rather  than  flesh,  and  that  Jesus  hath  a  greater  interest  in  him  than 
Adam.  The  apostle  here  describeth  him  according  to  the  operations 
of  the  better  part;  he  doth  not  sin,  he  cannot  sin;  the  old  man  in  him 
is  crucified,  not  dead  indeed,  but  dying  and  greatly  weakened ;  the 
new  man  is  superior,  and  governeth  our  hearts  and  actions.  The  heart 
of  a  regenerate  man  is  like  a  kingdom  divided,  but  grace  is  in  the  throne, 
and  the  flesh  is  the  rebel,  which  much  disturbeth  and  weakeneth  its 
sovereignty  and  empire,  and  by  striving  seeketh  to  draw  the  will  to 
itself,  tliat  it  may  be  sovereign  and  chief;  but  in  those  who  are  born  of 
God,  they  cannot  be,  else  there  would  be  no  distinction  between  nature 
and  grace  ;  for  a  man  is  denominated  from  what  is  predominant  in  him, 
and  hath  chief  power  over  his  heart.  If  it  be  the  flesh,  he  is  carnal ; 
if  it  be  the  Spirit,  he  is  a  flew  creature,  or  born  of  God.  Many  con- 
victions, and  good  meanings  and  wishes,  may  proceed  from  common 
grace,  and  be  found  in  those  that  shall  never  be  saved,  because  they  do 
not  prevail  over  the  contrary  motions  and  inclinations.  But  God's 
children  have  not  only  a  spirit  contrary  to  the  flesh  and  the  world,  but 
prevailing  over  the  flesh  and  the  world  :  1  Cor.  ii.  12,  'Now  we  have 
not  received  the  spirit  of  the  world,  but  the  Spirit  of  God.'  Men  are 
denominated  from  that  which  beareth  rule  in  them.  If  sin  reigneth, 
or  grace  reigneth,  that  is  his  master  to  which  a  man  yieldeth  himself, 
Rom.  vi.  10,  by  which  he  is  ordinarily  led  and  governed,  and  which 
disposeth  of  his  time,  and  strength,  and  mind,  and  heart,  and  life,  and 
love  ;  so  that  though  corruption  remaineth  in  the  faithful,  yet  it  is  a 
rebel,  and  the  government  is  in  the  iiands  of  grace.  All  the  acts  of  sin 
are  disowned  acts,  and  we  may  say  with  Paul,  'It  is  not  I,  but  sin  that 
dwelletii  in  me.'  They  proceed  from  us  against  the  bent  and  habit  of 
our  wills,  and  settled  course  of  life  ;  and  therefore  you  see  how  it  con- 
cerneth  us  to  carry  it  so  that  as  little  of  the  flesh  may  be  discovered  as 
may  be,  that  our  conversations  be  not  cast  into  a  carnal  mould,  or 
fashioned  'according  to  the  former  lusts  of  your  ignorance,'  1  Peter 
i.  14.  That  sin  be  more  mortified,  and  not  gratified.  The  flesh  is 
importunate  to  be  pleased,  but  our  pretences  to  God  and  regeneration 
cannot  be  justified  if  we  should  please  it,  and  turn  head  against  the 
better  part. 

6.  This  vital,  contrary,  predominant  principle  against  sin  is  the  fruit 
of  a  new  birth  ;  and  if  it  be  so,  there  appeareth  a  shoal  of  arguments 
to  draw  us  off  from  sin,  and  to  press  us  to  avoid  sin.  I  will  content 
myself  with  two — 

[1.]  The  way  by  which  regeneration  is  brought  about,  which  is  by  a 
deep  sight  and  sense  of  sin,  and  the  dreadful  consequences  of  it.  And 
surely  those  that  have  been  acquainted  with  the  pangs  of  the  new  birth, 
will  not  easily  venture  upon  sin  again,  as  the  burnt  child  dreadeth  the 
fire,  or  those  that  have  been  bitten  by  playing  with  a  snappish  cur  will 
not  easily  expose  their  fingers  to  such  danger.     You  remember  what 

70  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XV. 

sin  cost  you  formerly  when  you  were  first  reconciled  to  God,  what  terror 
of  heart,  what  tremblings  of  soul,  and  how  long  it  was  ere  you  could 
settle  in  a  holy  peace  and  serenity  of  mind.  Surely  we  should  sin  no 
more,  lest  a  worse  thing  come  unto  us.  Will  you  drink  again  of  those 
bitter  waters,  and  renew  the  cause  of  your  anguish  and  sorrow,  or  taste 
again  of  the  cold  cup  of  trembling,  which  filled  you  with  such  astonish- 
ment and  fear  ?  A  convinced  sinner  is  filled  with  his  own  ways,  Prov. 
i.  31.  He  hath  enough  of  sin  when  God  sets  it  home  upon  his  heart. 
Then  he  seeth  what  an  evil  and  bitter  thing  it  is  to  make  bold  witli 
God,  Jer.  ii.  19,  at  what  a  dear  rate  he  bought  the  pleasures  and  con- 
tentments of  the  flesh:  and  wilt  thou  again  run  this  hazard?  The 
Israelites  were  jealous  of  setting  up  a  new  altar  :  Josh.  xxii.  17,  18, 
*  Is  the  iniquity  of  Peor  too  little  for  us,  from  which  we  are  not 
cleansed  until  this  day  (although  there  were  a  plague  in  the  congrega- 
tion of  the  Lord),  but  we  must  turn  away  again  from  following  the 
Lord  ?  '  Alas !  we  cannot  forget  the  old  scorchings  of  conscience,  and 
shall  we  venture  once  more  ? 

[2.]  The  eff"ect  of  it,  which  is  a  settled  constitution  of  heart,  acted 
and  discovered  either  in  a  way  of  faith,  or  hope,  and  love,  and  so  the 
seed  of  God  goeth  under  divers  names  :  1  Cor.  xiii.  13,  '  And  now 
abideth  faith,  hope,  charity ; '  1  Tlies.  i.  3,  '  Remembering  without 
ceasing  your  work  of  faith,  and  labour  of  love,  and  patience  of  hope  ; ' 
Jude  20,  21, '  But  ye  beloved,  building  up  yourselves  in  your  most  holy 
faith,  keep  yourselves  in  the  love  of  God,  looking  for  the  mercy  of  our 
Lord  Jesus  Christ.'  Now  all  those  graces  which  constitute  and  make 
up  the  new  creature  give  us  powerful  arguments  and  inducements 
against  sin.  Therefore,  if  we  are  born  of  God,  we  are  highly  concerned 
not  to  sin  against  him. 

(1.)  Faitli  maketh  use  of  the  whole  christian  doctrine  to  purify  the 
heart,  Acts  xv.  9,  or  cleanse  it  from  sin ;  especially  that  of  redemption 
by  Christ :  1  John  iii.  5,  8,  'And  he  was  manifested  to  take  away  sin. 
For  this  purpose  the  Son  of  God  was  manifested,  that  he  might  destroy 
the  works  of  the  devil.'  And  the  eternal  recompenses :  when  sin  sets 
the  bait  before  you,  faith  sets  heaven  and  hell  before  you ;  heaven  to 
sweeten  the  ways  of  God,  and  make  them  more  easy  to  us,  that  we  may 
be  constant  in  them  :  Rom.  viii.  13,  '  If  ye  live  after  the  flesh,  ye  shall 
die,  but  if  ye  through  the  Spirit  do  mortify  the  deeds  of  the  body,  ye 
shall  live.'  Hell  to  deter  and  frighten  you  from  sin.  When  the  flesh 
showeth  you  the  bait,  faith  showeth  you  the  hook ;  and  so  take  all 
together,  the  beginning  and  the  end,  you  will  have  little  stomach  to  sin. 
When  you  consider  how  many  are  sufi'ering  for  those  sins  which  you 
are  now  tempted  to  commit,  dare  you  venture  ?  Wiiat !  upon  the  ever- 
lasting burnings,  into  which  every  one  is  cast,  whosoever  maketh  a 
lie,  or  giveth  way  to  his  lusts,  and  filthy  excess  ? 

(2.)  Love,  which  is  the  weight  that  inclineth  and  poiseth  us  to 
God,  and  so  by  consequence  to  hate  sin :  Ps.  xcvii.  10,  '  Ye  that  love 
the  Lord  hate  evil.'  Which  is  the  great  overruling  principle  which 
levelleth  our  actions  to  his  glory,  and  directeth  them  according  to  his 
will :  2  Cor.  v.  14, 15, '  For  the  love  of  Christ  constraineth  us,  because 
we  thus  judge,  that  if  one  died  for  all,  then  were  all  dead.     And  that 

VeR.  9.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  71 

he  died  for  all,  that  they  which  live  should  not  henceforth  live  unto 
themselves,  but  unto  him  who  died  for  them,  and  rose  again.'  Sin  is 
not  only  impertinent,  but  inconsistent  with  our  great  end. 

(3.)  Hope,  which  looketh  and  waiteth  that  we  may  see  God,  and 
be  like  him  :  1  John  iii,  3,  '  He  that  hath  this  hope  in  him  purifieth 
himself,  as  Chiist  is  pure.'  What!  look  for  these  things,  and  live 
so  contrary  to  them  ?  If  this  be  the  effect  of  the  new  birth,  surely  it 
concerneth  us  to  mortify  and  avoid  sin. 

7.  This  birth  draweth  to  it  God's  assistance ;  for  whosoever  is  born 
of  God  is  taken  into  God's  family  and  under  God's  protection :  '  For 
all  things  are  of  him,  and  through  him,  and  to  him  ; '  as  in  a  way  of 
nature,  so  in  a  way  of  grace,  Eom.  xi.  35.  They  have  their  preserva- 
tion from  him  from  whom  they  received  their  being  ;  the  new  creature 
is  through  him  as  well  as  from  him ;  and  no  dam  can  be  so  tender 
of  the  young  brood  in  the  nest  as  God  is  of  the  new  creature,  which  is 
of  his  own  production.  He  cherisheth  that  grace  which  he  hath  in- 
fused ;  Phil.  i.  6,  '  Being  confident  of  this,  that  he  which  hath  begun  a 
good  work  in  you  will  perform  it  until  the  day  of  Christ.'  The  same 
power  doth  carry  on  the  work  of  grace  which  did  begin  it  in  us.  Paul 
was  confident  of  this  very  thing,  of  their  perseverance  in  grace  on  this 
account.  Now  herein  lieth  the  stability  of  the  saints,  not  in  the 
strength  of  their  own  resolutions  ;  for  our  steps  are  apt  to  slip  after  the 
firmest  engagements  to  God  :  Ps.  Ixxiii.  2,  '  But  as  for  me,  my  feet  were 
almost  gone,  my  steps  had  well-nigh  slipped  ; '  for  fixedness  of  gracious 
habits  is  not  from  themselves,  for  we  are  to  '  strengthen  the  things  that 
remain,  and  are  ready  to  die,'  Rev.  iii.  2 ;  but  from  the  power  of  God, 
which  by  promise  is  engaged  for  their  preservation  against  all  opposition. 
Now  this  doth  secure  God's  children  so  far,  that  those  who  are  born  of 
God  cannot  degenerate  so  as  to  fall  into  total  impenitency  ;  and  it  does 
also  condeum  our  laziness  if  we  do  not  make  use  of  the  grace  offered 
to  keep  ourselves  from  sin,  and  do  not  make  use  of  the  means  pro- 
vided, that  we  may  be  fortified  against  it.  There  is  a  waxing  and 
waning  grace,  and  ebbings  and  Sowings  in  corruption ;  but  God's 
covenant  and  paternal  love  admits  of  no  abatement ;  our  antipathy  to 
sin  may  abate,  but  not  Christ's  compassion  to  the  saints.  He  hath  in- 
stituted, not  only  outward  means  to  confirm  us,'  but  still  supplieth 
internal  grace  to  nourish  our  faith,  hope,  and  love,  that  they  may  be 
lively  and  strong  against  sin. 

8.  If  we  sin  wilfully,  the  seed  of  God  that  remaineth  in  us,  though 
it  be  not  utterly  extinct,  yet  it  is  sore  battered  and  bruised,  and  there  is 
such  havoc  made  in  the  soul,  tliat  it  is  hard  to  know  whether  we  have 
any  grace  in  us,  yea  or  no.  We  are  as  if  we  had  none  ;  if  there  be 
any,  it  is  best  seen  first  in  our  sudden  recovery  ;  for  the  time  we  are 
as  if  we  had  none.  Therefore  David  speaketh  as  if  the  work  were  to 
begin  anew,  and  his  recovery  were  a  kind  of  second  conversion  :  Ps.  H. 
10,  'Create  in  me  a  clean  heart,  0  God,  and  renew  a  riglit  spirit  within 
me.'  The  grace  of  the  Holy  Spirit  is  so  obstructed,  and  the  flood-gate 
of  natural  })ollution  so  opened,  that  it  is  a  kind  of  creation,  or  second 
conversion,  to  restore  the  principle  of  grace  to  its  vigour  and  power, 
as  if  all  were  to  begin  again.  Indeed  it  was  not  so,  for  he  presently 
added,  '  Cast  me  not  away  from  thy  holy  presence,  and  take  not  thy 

72  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XV. 

Spirit  from  me.'  He  had  some  interest  in  God  still,  somewhat  of  the 
Spirit  left  which  he  did  not  lose  ;  though  he  had  sadly  fallen  from  his 
wonted  purity  and  sincerity,  yet  he  owneth  some  presence  of  the  Spirit 
still,  and  desireth  that  God  would  not  take  it  from  him,  as  having  never 
more  need  of  it  than  at  this  time.  Secondly,  If  we  cannot  lie  in  sin, 
but  by  our  falls  we  do  much  more  resolve  and  strengthen  ourselves 
against  sin  for  the  time  to  come,  running  to  our  advocate,  and  seriously 
making  our  peace  with  God,  1  John  ii.  1,  and  resolve  to  be  more 
watchful  and  cautious  for  the  time  to  come  :  Ps.  li.  6,  '  In  the  inward 
parts  thou  shalt  make  me  to  know  wisdom  ; '  and  Ps.  Ixxxv.  8,  '  Let 
them  not  return  to  folly ; '  that  is,  commit  such  foolish  and  incon- 
siderate acts  again ;  if  it  be  thus  with  us,  it  argueth  that  the  root  re- 
maineth,  and  hath  life  in  it,  though  the  branches  be  shrewdly  rifled  and 
withered ;  if  they  work  themselves  clean  again,  as  a  living  spring  that 
purifies  itself ;  but  where  sin  is  made  light  of,  and  not  truly  repented 
of  when  committed,  there  it  is  not  so. 

9.  That  this  avoiding  of  sin  is  here  brought  as  the  most  sensible, 
visible  note  and  character,  to  distinguish  the  children  of  God  from  the 
children  of  the  devil :  '  He  that  sinneth  is  of  the  devil,  for  the  devil 
sinneth  from  the  beginning :  and  he  that  is  born  of  God  sinneth  not. 
In  this  the  children  of  God,  and  the  children  of  the  devil  are  manifest.' 
To  walk  in  a  sinful  course  is  plainly  to  entitle  ourselves  to  the  devil, 
who  is  the  eldest  sinner,  as  being  the  first  of  the  kind ;  the  most 
constant  sinner,  for  he  sinneth  from  the  beginning,  never  ceaseth,  is 
never  weary  of  sin  ;  and  the  most  industrious  and  painful  sinner,  for  he 
compasses  the  earth  to  and  fro  to  draw  men  into  a  rebellion  against 
God  ;  and  therefore  he  is  the  father  of  all  those  that  live  in  a  trade  and 
course  of  sin.  But,  on  the  contrary,  he  that  sinneth  not  is  born  of  God. 
God  is  holy,  and  the  great  work  of  his  Spirit  is  to  renew  us  in  holiness 
and  cleanse  us  from  sin ;  therefore  by  committing  or  avoiding  sin  we 
may  soon  see,  yea,  the  world  may  see,  to  whom  we  belong.  And  surely 
it  doth  not  become  the  children  of  God  to  border  too  near  upon  the 
wicked.  There  should  be  a  broad  difference  between  them  and  the 
children  of  the  devil,  or  else  they  dishonour  their  Father,  because  they 
come  too  near  the  carnal  life  ;  therefore  when  the  two  seeds  are  thus 
intermingled  or  blended  together,  it  is  a  nice  and  difficult  case  to  dis- 
tinguish them  ;  so  that  either  it  must  be  determined  against  you,  that 
you  are  not  a  child  of  God,  or  at  least  you  perplex  the  case,  and  make 
it  doubtful ;  you  are  too  like  the  ungodly,  and  Satan  hath  too  much 
interest  in  you.  Holiness  is  God's  image  ;  doth  it  not  grieve  you  that 
you  are  so  little  like  him  ?  By  his  graces  he  keepeth  possession  of  you  ; 
if  these  have  not  their  effect  upon  you,  you  dishonour  him  by  professing 
such  a  nearness  to  him,  and  can  so  little  distinguish  yourselves  from 
his  enemies.  Surely  the  more  nearly  you  are  related  to  Christ,  the 
more  tender  you  should  be  of  offending  and  dishonouring  him.  If 
Christ  hath  done  his  part  to  difference  you  from  all  the  rest  of  the 
world,  and  you  will  not  declare  the  difference,  and  make  it  manifest, 
you  harden  the  world,  and  they  will  think  that  to  distinguish  between 
the  seeds  is  factious  singularity,  not  regular  zeal ;  they  hold  up  their 
ways  with  greater  pretence,  as  justified  by  you,  when  you  are  covetous, 
envious,  wrathful,  giving  to  tippling  or  vain  company. 

VeR  9.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  .  73 

10.  The  evidence  of  this  character,  and  as  it  concerneth  the  satis- 
faction of  our  consciences,  is  made  to  consist  in  two  things — (1.)  That 
he  that  is  born  of  God  doth  not  sin  ;  (2.)  Cannot  sin  ;  and  both  expres- 
sions contain  great  arguments  in  them. 

[1.]  That  he  doth  not  sin.  It  is  not  to  be  understood  that  he  doth 
not  sin  at  all,  for  the  contrary  is  verified  by  sad  and  lamentable  expe- 
rience ;  nor  yet  it  doth  not  limit  and  set  out  the  bounds  so  exactly  and 
plainly  as  that  it  may  be  stated  in  the  word.  If  the  scripture  had  set 
down  how  much  sin  is  consistent  with  grace,  we  should  then  have  gone  as 
far  as  we  could,  and  would  not  so  strictly  stand  upon  our  guard  as  now 
we  are  obliged  to  do  after  such  a  warning  and  intimation.  That  the 
new  creature  doth  not,  cannot  sin  ;  the  very  intent  of  these  expressions 
is  to  make  us  afraid  universally  of  all  sin  ;  for  the  infirmities  of  the 
saints  may  be  distinguished  from  the  presumptions  of  the  wicked, 
otherwise  we  could  have  no  certainty  of  our  sincerity,  and  the  scripture 
would  not  distinguish  between  the  spots  of  God's  children  and  the 
spots  of  the  perverse,  Deut.  xxxii.  5.  Surely  as  the  priests  of  the  law 
had  direction  to  distinguish  between  the  leprosy  that  had  malignity  in 
it,  and  made  the  people  utterly  unclean,  and  the  leprosy  that  did  not 
fret  the  flesh,  and  made  them  only  unclean  for  the  present,  so  the 
ministers  of  the  gospel  have  direction  to  distinguish  between  weaknesses 
and  wilful  failings.  Yet  there  is  great  difficulty  in  the  case ;  partly 
because  some  sins,  which  in  their  nature  are  infirmities,  may  prove 
iniquities  in  the  committer ;  as  suppose  vain  thoughts,  idle  words, 
distractions  in  payer,  if  a  man  abandoneth  himself  to  them,  the  case 
is  altered  ;  and  partly  because  the  same  sin  may  be  an  infirmity  in  one 
man  which  is  not  in  another,  who  hath  more  knowledge  and  helps  of 
grace  ;  and  partly  because  that  may  be  an  infirmity  at  one  time  which 
is  not  at  another,  as  it  cometh  backed  with  temptations,  which  make 
such  a  sudden  and  forcible  impression  upon  the  will  that  there  is  no 
time  of  deliberation,  but  its  consent  is  precipitated,  whereas  at  other 
times  the  sin  may  be  withstood  and  resisted  ;  and  partly  because  that 
which  was  an  infirmity  at  first  may  afterwards  commence  into  ini- 
quity, as  when  a  man  hath  sinned  away  his  spiritual  strength,  broken 
the  power  of  his  will,  lulled  his  conscience  asleep  by  some  foregoing  sin  ; 
partly  because  it  is  hard  to  determine  how  long  sensual  passions  may 
keep  the  soul  from  sober  consideration.  Therefore  our  best  way  is  to 
keep  up  a  constant  care  and  solicitous  desire  to  please  God  in  all  things, 
at  least  to  keep  the  soul  from  settling  in  a  trade  and  course  of  vanity 
and  sin. 

[2.]  The  other  part  of  the  note,  '  That  he  cannot  sin  ; '  that  is,  the 
constitution  of  his  soul,  or  the  settled  purpose  and  habitual  bent  of  his 
heart,  is  more  against  sin  than  for  it ;  and  then  it  will  follow  that  his 
constant  course  or  the  scope  and  tenor  of  his  life  is  accordingly ;  for  where 
sin  is  more  hated  than  loved,  and  men  are  sincerely  willing  to  avoid  it, 
they  will  be  watchful  against  it,  groan  under  the  burden  of  it,  seek  to 
prevent  and  weaken  it  by  all  holy  means,  as  I  shall  show  in  the  next 
verse.  But  here  a  notable  argument  ariseth.  If  we  should  plead, 
You  can  avoid  sin,  at  least  more  sin  than  you  do,  if  you  were  sincerely 
willing,  we  should  ])lead  strongly,  and  leave  you  wholly  under  blame 
for  your  transgressions.     It  is  a  certain  truth  that  a  man  hath  power 

74  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  111.  [SeR.  XV. 

to  do  more  good  than  he  doth,  and  avoid  more  evil  than  he  doth  avoid. 
But  the  Spirit  of  God  puts  the  argument  into  other  words,  of  a  higher 
import  and  signification,  'You  cannot  sin  ; '  as  if  the  business  were 
not  whether  you  could  avoid  sin,  but  whether  you  can  commit  it,  being 
thus  constituted,  and  having  these  advantages  of  grace  which  you  have. 
You  complain,  I  cannot  renounce  this  bewitching  lust,  whereas  the 
debate  lieth  here,  how  you  can  live  in  it,  and  lie  under  the  power  of  it ; 
which  should  rouse  up  christians  out  of  their  laziness  and  cowardly 

Use  2.  Directions  in  this  case. 

1.  The  general  mortification  must  go  before  the  particular.  The 
general  mortification  is  when  the  first  thorough  change  is  wrought  in 
us,  and  'We  put  off  the  body  of  the  sins  of  the  flesh,'  Col.  ii.  11  ;  for 
then  the  heart  is  fixed  against  sin.  But  the  particular  mortification 
is  when  some  particular  lust  or  sin  is  more  struck  at.  Now  the  one 
must  go  before  the  other,  because  else  all  that  we  do  is  but  like  stop- 
ping a  hole  in  a  ruinous  fabric,  that  is  ready  to  drop  upon  our  heads, 
or  to  make  much  ado  about  a  cut  finger  when  we  have  a  mortal  disease 
upon  us.  Besides,  particular  mortification  dependeth  on  the  general, 
as  our  avoiding  sin  doth  on  our  being  born  of  God  :  Col.  iii.  9,  *  Put 
off  all  these,  anger,  wrath,  blasphemy,  filthy  communication  out  of 
your  mouths,  seeing  ye  have  put  off  the  old  man  with  his  deeds.'  See- 
ing you  have  put  off  all  corruption,  allow  yourselves  in  no  one  sin, 
Alas  !  to  set  against  a  particular  sin  before  you  set  against  the  whole 
body  of  sin,  it  is  but  to  put  a  new  patch  upon  a  torn  garment,  and 
so  to  make  the  rent  the  worse  ;  or  to  lop  off  a  branch  or  two  while  the 
root  and  trunk  remaineth  in  full  life  and  vigour,  and  so  it  sproutetli 
the  more  for  cutting.  Therefore  look  first  after  the  general  work,  that 
you  are  born  again ;  when  sin  is  stabbed  at  the  heart,  the  particular 
branches  and  limbs  die  by  degrees. 

2.  Consider  where  the  new  nature  is  in  most  danger,  there  is  vitium 
sceculi,  vitium  gentis,  and  vitiicm  pet'sonce. 

[1.]  The  fault  of  the  age  and  nation,  where  sin  being  the  more 
common,  it  is  the  less  odious.  Sins  are  in  reputation  where  usually 
practised,  and  the  inundation  and  torrent  of  examples  carry  men  away 
strangely:  Gal.  ii.  13,  'Barnabas  was  carried  away  with  their  dissimula- 
tion.' Though  a  good  man  could  easily  condemn  the  practice  of  the 
rude  multitude,  and  be  as  Noah,  upriglit  in  a  corrupt  age  and  time. 
Gen.  vi.  9.  But  when  those  that  we  honour  and  esteem  for  godliness, 
have  adopted  such  an  error  or  such  a  sin  into  their  practice,  the 
error  and  sin  is  authorised,  and  we  run  into  it  one  after  another,  as  sheep 
do  out  of  the  pasture  by  the  gap  or  breach  in  the  hedge  made  by  others 
that  have  gone  before  them.  Oh,  take  heed  of  this ;  be  followers  of 
none  no  further  than  they  are  of  Christ. 

[2.]  The  fault  of  the  person.  We  must  labour  most  to  mortify  our 
particular  sin  :  Ps.  xviii.  23,  '  I  was  upright  before  thee,  and  kept  my- 
self from  mine  iniquity.'  Some  that  we  may  call  ours,  by  temper,  evil 
custom,  course  of  employment.  Now  these  should  be  the  more  morti- 
fied for  their  own  sake,  and  for  the  sake  of  others  ,  for  the  master-lusts, 
like  great  diseases,  seldom  go  alone.  Sometimes  it  is  worldliness,  or 
an  inordinate  love  of  riches,  which  gaineth  such  interest  in  the  hearts 

VeR.  10.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  in.  75 

of  many,  that  they  set  light  by  Christ  and  his  precious  benefits,  and 
thoughts  of  God  and  heaven  grow  unwelcome  and  unpleasing  to  them, 
rather  desire  wealth  than  God's  favour,  do  not  lay  up  treasures  in 
heaven,  but  value  an  estate  by  the  possession  rather  than  the  use. 
Some  men's  distemper  is  a  sensual  disposition  ;  their  hearts  are  carried 
after  all  the  alluring  vanities  of  the  world,  and  are  basely  surprised  by 
the  baits  of  the  flesh,  cannot  deny  themselves,  or  govern  their  fancies 
and  appetites.  Others'  distemper  is  pride,  when  they  mind  high  things, 
know  little  of  that  poverty  of  spirit  recommended  in  the  gospel,  and 
is  reconcilable  with  a  mean  condition ;  they  can  hardly  live  with  any 
but  those  that  will  honour  and  please  them.  Now  the  darling  sin  may 
be  known  by  the  frequency  of  its  assaults,  its  power  over  other  sins, 
thoughts  that  haunt  us  in  duty ;  and  every  wise  man  knoweth  where 
his  temptations  lie  most. 

3.  Remember  the  lesser  acts  of  sin  make  way  for  greater,  as  the 
lesser  sticks  set  the  great  ones  on  fire.  As  in  anger  ;  give  way  to  the 
distempers  of  it,  and  from  folly  it  groweth  to  downright  madness, 
Eccles.  X.  13.  So  for  envy,  if  it  break  out  into  detraction,  it  will  make  us 
malignant,  and  undermine  those  whom  we  envy,  and  mischievous 
malice  is  the  final  product.  So  for  pride  and  self-esteem,  let  it  break 
out  into  boasting,  and  it  will  breed  contention,  Prov.  xiii.  10.  Let  the  love 
of  the  world  make  us  immoderate  in  the  pursuit  of  it,  then  God  is  neg- 
lected, charity  omitted,  and  it  will  in  time  draw  us  to  unjust  gain.  So 
for  sensuality  ;  pamper  the  flesh  with  all  the  delights  it  craveth,  and 
in  time  men  will  be  scandalous  in  their  apparel,  meat,  or  drink.  Let 
lust  break  out  into  wantonness,  and  wantonness  will  produce  downright 
uncleanness  ;  lusts  will  beget  acts,  and  these  acts  multiply  into  deeds 
of  a  more  foul  and  heinous  nature.  Therefore  stop  betimes ;  when 
you  run  down-hill  there  is  little  hope  of  staying  yourseh'es. 

4.  Kenew  the  inclination  of  the  new  nature  by  the  means  appointed 
thereunto,  especially  the  Lord's  supper,  which  is  the  food  of  the  new 
nature,  wherein  we  remember  Christ  crucified,  and  we  remember  him, 
that  the  end  of  his  death  may  be  accomplished,  which  is,  that,  '  we 
may  die  unto  sin,  and  live  unto  righteousness,'  1  Peter  ii.  24.  He 
purchased  the  grace  whereby  this  might  be  accomplished,  and 
wherein  we  renew  our  covenant  with  God,  for  the  strengthening  our 
baptismal  vow.  Baptism  is  an  avowed  death  to  sin,  and  here  we  renew 
it  again. 


In  this  the  children  of  God  are  manifest,  and  the  children  of  the  devil : 
whosoever  doeth  not  righteousness,  is  not  of  God,  neither  he  that 
loveth  not  his  brother. — 1  John  iii.  10. 

In  these  words  you  have  the  conclusion  of  the  whole  discourse,  together 
with  a  transition  to  anotliei-.     The  former  discourse  was  about  abstain- 

76  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR,  XVI. 

ing  from  sin,  the  subsequent  and  following'  discourse  about  love  of  the 
brethren.  Both  exceedingly  become  the  children  of  God ;  the  one  show- 
eth  their  respect  to  their  Father,  the  other  to  those  in  the  same  relation 
with  themselves. 

In  this  verse  observe — 

1.  The  preface,  which  asserts  that  this  is  the  true  note  and  character 
by  which  the  two  seeds  are  distinguished,  '  In  this  the  children  of  God 
are  manifest,'  &c. 

2.  This  note  of  difference  is  referred  to  two  heads — purity  and  charity. 

3.  They  are  propounded  negatively, '  Doeth  not  righteousness,  neither 
he  that  loveth  not  his  brother.'  But  the  affirmative  is  understood,  that 
whosoever  doeth  righteousness  and  loveth  his  brother  is  of  God,  namely, 
he  that  liveth  to  God,  and  doth  what  God  require th  and  approveth. 

Doct.  1.  That  there  is,  and  should  be,  a  broad  and  manifest  difference 
between  the  children  of  God  and  the  children  of  the  devil. 

Doct.  2.  That  charity  and  purity  are  true  notes  of  God's  children. 

The  first  doctrine  may  bear  two  senses — that  this  difference  is  mani- 
fest to  others,  or  to  themselves. 

1.  To  others.  I  exclude  not  what  the  apostle  mentioneth.  Gal.  v. 
19,  '  Now  the  works  of  the  flesh  are  manifest.'  Look,  as  the  lewd  lives 
of  some  do  plainly  speak  out  their  corrupt  estate  to  the  conscience  of 
any  discerning  man;  as  Ps.  xxxvi.  1,  'The  transgression  of  the  wicked 
saith  within  ray  heart,  There  is  no  fear  of  God  before  his  eyes.'  Either 
they  do  not  believe  there  is  a  God,  or  they  do  not  really  and  in  good 
earnest  care  for  him.  Now  if  the  wickedness  of  the  wicked  doth  dis- 
cover itself  to  an  attentive  beholder,  so,  on  the  contrary,  grace  should 
not  be  concealed,  but  break  out  into  the  conversation :  2  Thes.  i.  11 , 
12, '  Wherefore  also  we  pray  always  for  you,  that  our  God  would  count 
you  worthy  of  his  calling,  and  fulfil  all  the  good  pleasure  of  his  good- 
ness, and  the  work  of  faith  with  power :  that  the  name  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  may  be  glorified  in  you,  and  you  in  him.'  God  is  more 
glorified,  the  world  more  edified,  and  we  ourselves  more  comforted,  the 
more  explicitly  we  show  ourselves  to  be  christians.  The  wicked  man 
is  known  by  his  fruits:  Mat.  vii.  20,  'Wherefore  by  their  fruits  ye 
shall  know  them.'  And  the  good  man  by  his  fruits :  Ps.  i.  3, '  He  shall 
be  like  a  tree  planted  by  the  rivers  of  water,  that  bringeth  forth  his 
fruit  in  his  season  ;  his  leaf  doth  not  wither,  and  whatsoever  he  doth 
shall  prosper.'  But  on  the  one  side,  air  graceless  and  unconverted  men 
do  so  plainly  manifest  themselves ;  and  on  the  other,  too  many  good 
christians  do  not  so  easily  interpret  themselves  in  their  actions,  or 
'  declare  plainly  '  (in  the  apostle's  phrase)  '  that  they  seek  a  country,' 
Heb.  xi.  14,  that  is,  heaven. 

2.  This  being  manifest  is  meant  of  being  manifest  to  ourselves,  in 
the  sense  of  our  consciences  ;  for  conscience  is  a  nearer  discerner  of  our 
actions  than  the  observation  of  other  men  can  be.  It  is  hard  to  think 
that  the  soul  should  be  a  stranger  to  its  own  operations  :  1  Cor.  ii.  11, 
*  There  is  a  spirit  in  man  which  knoweth  the  things  of  a  man.'  There 
is  a  privy  spy  in  our  own  bosoms,  which  is  conscious  to  all  that  we  do, 
and  can  reflect  upon  it,  and  judge  of  it  whether  it  be  good  or  evil ;  it 
knoweth  when  we  understand,  or  will,  or  purpose,  and  resolve,  or  do 

VeR.  10.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  77 

anything  ;  much  more  is  it  conscious,  if  not  to  single  acts,  yet  to  our 
conversation  and  constant  course,  and  that  for  a  fourfold  reason — 

[1.]  Because  acts  of  grace  are  the  most  serious  and  important  actions 
of  our  lives.  Many  ordinary  acts  may  escape  us,  they  being  not  of  such 
moment,  for  want  of  advertency  ;  but  surely  he  that  acteth  for  eternity 
will  mind  what  he  doeth.  This  is  the  great  business  that  we  attend 
upon,  and  with  the  greatest  solicitude  and  diligence  :  Phil.  ii.  12, '  Work 
out  your  salvation  with  fear  and  trembling.' 

[2.]  All  acts  of  grace  are  put  forth  with  difficulty,  and  with  some 
strife  and  wrestling  ;  for  there  is  a  continual  opposition  of  the  flesh  : 
Gal.  V.  17,  '  The  flesh  lusteth  against  the  Spirit.'  Now  things  difficult, 
and  carried  on  with  much  opposition,  must  needs  leave  a  notice  and 
impression  of  themselves  upon  the  soul. 

[3.]  There  is  a  special  delight  that  accompanieth  acts  of  grace,  be- 
cause of  the  excellency  of  the  objects  they  are  conversant  about,  and 
the  excellency  of  the  power  they  are  assisted  withal,  and  the  excellency 
and  nobleness  of  the  faculties  they  are  acted  by,  and  the  excellent  ends 
and  uses  they  are  designed  unto.  There  is  a  pleasantness  in  the  paths 
of  wisdom  :  Prov.  iii.  17,  '  Her  ways  are  ways  of  pleasantness,  and  all 
her  paths  are  peace.'  Now  the  experience  of  this  pleasure,  and  grief, 
and  trouble  for  the  contrary  doth  make  the  acts  of  grace  more  notorious 
to  the  soul. 

[4.]  A  serious,  constant,  uniform  course  of  obedience  will  evidence 
itself ;  for  though  conscience  be  unobservant  of  particular  actions,  yet 
the  course  and  drift  and  tenor  of  our  lives  cannot  be  hidden  from  it. 
A  man  in  a  journey  doth  not  count  his  steps,  but  he  doth  observe  his 
way  ;  so  here  methinks  a  christian  should  not  be  ignorant  of  his  mark, 
drift  and  scope,  course,  and  constant  business.  Am  I  going  to  heaven 
or  to  hell  ?  Phil.  ii.  12.  Am  I  pleasing  God  or  men  ?  2  Cor.  i.  12 ; 
2  Cor.  V.  9,  'Whether  present  or  absent,  I  desire  to  be  accepted  of  the 
Lord.'     What  is  my  labour,  my  ambition,  my  daily  work  and  business  ? 

Two  reasons. 

(1.)  Because  they  are  governed  and  influenced  by  different  powers, 
God  and  the  devil.  The  children  of  God  are  guided  by  his  Holy 
Spirit :  Rom.  viii.  14,  'As  many  as  are  the  children  of  God  are  led  by 
the  Spirit  of  God.'  The  children  of  the  devil  by  the  evil  spirit :  Epii. 
ii.  2,  '  They  walk  after  the  prince  of  the  power  of  the  air,  that  wojketh 
in  the  children  of  disobedience.'  Now  are  God  and  the  devil  so  agreed 
as  that  the  votaries  and  followers  of  each  cannot  be  distinguished  ? 
The  children  of  God  are  led  by  the  Spirit  of  God ;  that  is,  they  obey 
his  sanctifying  motions,  either  by  way  of  restraint,  or  invitation  and 
excitement.  Byway  of  restraint:  Rom.  iii.  13,  'If  ye  live  after  the 
flesh,  ye  shall  die ;  but  if  ye,  through  the  Spirit,  do  mortify  the  deeds 
of  the  body,  ye  shall  live.'  Or  invitation  and  excitement :  Gal.  v.  25, 
'If  we  live  in  the  Spirit,  let  us  also  walk  in  the  Spirit.'  On  the  con- 
trary, the  unregenerate  follow  the  motions  and  suggestions  of  the  devil, 
whom  they  resemble  in  their  sin  and  wickedness.  He  doth  by  their 
outward  senses  tempt  them  to  sin,  and  the  tempted  sinner  soon  yield- 
eth  ;  and  he  by  pleasure,  profit,  and  credit  withdraweth  them  from 
God,  and  hardeneth  them ;  and  they  are  so  addicted  to  sin  and  vanity, 
that  they  cannot  refrain  it.     Satan  hath  too  great  a  power  on  the  godly, 

78  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  HI.  [SeR.  XVI. 

but  be  dotb  not  so  efficaciously  work  in  tbem  as  on  tbe  carnal.  Tbere- 
ibre  between  tbese  two  sorts  of  people  there  should  be  a  manifest  and 
broad  difference. 

(2.)  They  have  a  different  principle,  the  seed  of  God  and  corrupt 
nature  :  John  iii.  6,  '  That  which  is  born  of  flesh  is  flesh,  and  that 
which  is  born  of  Spirit  is  spirit/  Now  both  correspond  with  their 
principles.  It  is  true  the  principles  are  mixed  in  the  regenerate,  but 
the  better  part  is  predominant ;  and  therefore  the  acts,  for  the  most 
part,  suit  with  it,  and  so  there  is  a  broad  difference  between  them  and 
those  who  are  only  influenced  by  the  flesh. 

3.  They  have  a  different  rule  ;  the  one  walk  according  to  the  law  of 
God,  wherein  he  hath  declared  his  will,  the  other  according  to  the  course 
of  this  world.  According  to  the  law  of  God :  Gal.  vi.  16,  'As  many 
as  walk  according  to  this  rule,  peace  be  upon  them,  and  mercy,  and 
upon  the  whole  Israel  of  God.'  The  other  according  to  the  course  of 
this  world:  Eph.  ii.  2,  '  Walking  after  the  prince  of  the  power  of  the 
air,  which  worketh  in  the  children  of  disobedience.'  According  to  the 
fashion  and  example  of  unrenewed  men,  or  the  general  and  corrupt 
custom  and  example  of  those  with  whom  we  live ;  and  they  conform 
themselves  to  it  more  than  to  the  will  of  God.  Now  the  fashions  of 
the  vain  world  and  the  strict  law  of  the  holy  God  are  so  different,  that 
he  that  walketh  according  to  the  one  must  needs  distinguish  himself 
from  the  other ;  there  being  a  distinct  rule,  there  must  needs  be  a 
difterent  course;  the  one  doeth  righteousness,  the  other  committeth 

4.  There  is  a  different  end  and  scope  ;  the  one  studieth  to  please 
God,  the  other  to  please  themselves.  The  one  studieth  to  please  God  : 
Col.  i.  10,  *  That  ye  might  walk  worthy  of  the  Lord  unto  all  pleasing, 
being  fruitful  in  every  good  work,  and  increasing  in  the  knowledge  of 
God ; '  1  Thes.  iv.  1,  '  I  exhort  you  by  the  Lord  Jesus,  that  as  ye  have 
received  of  us  how  ye  ought  to  walk  and  to  please  God,  so  you  would 
abound  more  and  more  ; '  2  Cor.  v.  9,  '  For  we  labour,  that,  whether 
present  or  absent,  we  may  be  accepted  of  him.'  The  other  to  gratify 
their  carnal  desires :  Rom.  xiii.  14,  '  And  make  no  provision  for  the 
flesh,  to  fulfil  the  lusts  thereof.'  The  one  seek  their  own  things,  Phil, 
ii.  21.  They  spend  their  time  in  the  flesh, '  to  the  lusts  of  men,  not  the 
will  of  God,'  1  Peter  iv.  2.  Now  there  being  such  a  different  scope, 
the  practice  must  be  different  also. 

5.  There  is  a  different  event  and  issue ;  all  the  world  emptieth  itself 
into  heaven  or  hell.  Now  heaven  and  hell  are  much  unlike,  and  vastly 
distant,  and  so  are  those  that  are  travelling  to  either  place :  Phil.  iii. 
19,  20,  '  For  many  walk,  of  whom  I  have  told  you,  and  now  tell  you 
weeping,  that  they  are  enemies  to  the  cross  of  Christ :  whose  end  is 
destruction,  whose  god  is  their  belly,  whose  glory  is  in  their  shame, 
who  mind  earthly  things.  But  our  conversation  is  in  heaven,  from 
whence  we  look  for  a  Saviour,  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ.'  If  the  end  be 
different,  the  way  must  be  so  also. 

Use  1.  Is  to  reprove  them  that  profess  themselves  to  be  the  people 
o£  God,  but  do  not  distinguish  themselves  from  the  children  of  the 
devil ;  they  are  so  like  one  another  that  there  is  no  manifest  difference 
to  be  seen.     A  christian  never  liveth  up  to  the  majesty  of  his  profession 

VeR.  10.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III,  79 

till  he  be  the  world's  wonder  and  the  world's  reproof :  1  Peter  iv.  4, 
'  They  think  it  strange  that  you  run  not  with  them  into  the  same  excess  of 
riot'  It  is  no  strange  matter  to  please  the  flesh,  but  it  is  strange  to  row 
against  the  stream  of  flesh  and  blood.  It  is  no  wonder  to  see  men 
carnal,  proud,  covetous,  sensual  ;  the  wonder  is  to  see  men  dead  to  all 
these  things,  to  be  humble,  meek,  sober,  modest.  It  is  no  wonder  to 
see  men  walk  as  men,  but  it  is  a  wonder  to  see  men  walk  as  born  of 
God.  It  is  no  wonder  to  see  men  court  the  world,  but  to  live  in  a 
contempt  of  the  world,  and  to  see  men  ready  to  part  with  what  they 
see  and  love  for  a  God  and  glory  which  they  never  saw,  this  is  the 
wonder.  Yet  such  a  mystery  and  wonder  should  a  christian  be  that 
liveth  up  to  his  principles.  Secondly,  The  world's  reproof ;  as  Noah  : 
Heb.  xi.  7,  '  By  preparing  an  ark  to  save  himself  and  his  household, 
condemned  the  world  ; '  that  is,  judged  them  for  their  laziness  and 
disrespect  of  God's  warning  and  impenitency,  for  that  they  repented 
not  when  God  gave  them  time  to  repent.  God  hath  told  the  world  of 
the  danger  of  sin,  and  showed  them  the  way  of  salvation.  By  our 
diligence  and  seriousness  in  his  ways,  and  in  the  use  of  the  means 
prescribed  to  save  our  souls,  we  must  condemn  the  world  for  their  sloth 
and  negligence  ;  otherwise,  if  we  do  not  condemn  the  world,  we  justify 
the  world,  as  Israel  justified  Sodom,  Ezek.  xvi.  51  ;  namely,  that  they 
are  not  so  culpable  in  slighting  God  and  the  offers  of  salvation  by 

Use  2.  Is  information.  It  informeth  us  of  two  important  truths  ; 
the  one  concerneth  the  ministry,  the  other  all  christians. 

1.  If  there  be  such  a  manifest  difference  between  the  children  of  God 
and  the  childrea  of  the  devil,  then  ministers  must  carefully  make  the 
distinction,  and  convince  the  one  sort  and  comfort  the  other :  Jer.  xv. 
19,  '  If  thou  shalt  take  forth  the  precious  from  the  vile,  thou  shalt  be 
as  my  mouth  ; '  that  is,  thou  by  thy  teaching  put  a  difference  between 
the  godly  and  the  wicked,  by  confirming  and  comforting  the  one,  and 
soundly  convincing  and  reproving  the  other  ;  as  if  I  myself  had  spoken 
it.  The  contrary  is  charged  on  a  corrupt  ministry :  Ezek.  xiii.  22, 
'  With  lies  ye  have  made  the  heart  of  the  righteous  sad,  whom  I  have 
not  made  sad ;  and  strengthened  the  hands  of  the  wicked,  that  he 
should  not  return  from  his  wicked  ways,  by  promising  him  life.'  This 
is  to  turn  the  ordinances  of  Christ  to  the  service  of  the  devil,  and  to 
gratify  his  children  ;  as  usually  those  that  are  indulgent  to  the  wicked 
are  severe  against  the  godly,  and  traduce  them  with  wrong  imputations  ; 
as  the  naughty  steward  'did  eat  and  drinkwith  the  drunken, and  smite  his 
fellow-servants,'  Mat.  xxiv.  49  ;  uphold  the  wicked  in  their  carnal  life ; 
but  the  serious  are  sure  to  meet  with  a  buffet  from  them,  and  smart 
for  it. 

2.  The  other  concerneth  all  christians,  and  that  is,  to  show  us  the 
lawfulness,  yea,  the  necessity,  of  trying  our  estate,  and  taking  comfort 
in  our  estate,  from  marks  and  signs  of  grace,  taken  from  our  works  or 
conversations.  Many  think  this  is  to  lead  them  off  from  Christ  to 
themselves,  but  vainly  ;  for  this  is  the  method  the  Holy  Ghost  directeth 
us  unto. 

[1.]  What  comfort  can  we  take  in  the  promises  if  we  must  not  look 
at  ihose  evidences  in  ourselves  which  may  prove  our  interest  in  them  ? 

80  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XVI. 

All  privileges  have  their  conditions  annexed,  and  our  right  is  suspended 
till  the  condition  be  performed,  and  our  comfort  till  we  know  that  it 
belongs  to  us.  For  instance,  God  hath  said,  John  i.  12,  '  To  whom- 
soever have  received  him,  even  to  as  many  as  believed  in  his  name, 
God  hath  given  this  power,  that  they  should  become  the  sons  of  God.' 
Now  how  will  you  know  that  you  have  this  power  but  by  knowing  that 
you  are  a  true  believer  ?  and  how  will  you  know  that  but  by  marks 
and  signs  of  faith  ?  If  you  say.  No  man  can  know  that  he  is  a  true 
believer,  you  make  the  promise  vain ;  for  what  good  will  it  do  any  man 
that  adoption  is  promised  to  believers,  if  we  cannot  know  whether  we 
be  believers,  yea  or  no  ?  If  it  may  be  known,  we  must  look  after  the 
qualification,  which  must  evidence  it  to  be  our  privilege.  Will  you 
apply  the  promise  to  all,  or  some,  or  none  ?  If  to  none,  then  it  is  in 
vain  ;  if  to  all,  then  you  deceive  the  most ;  for  though  some  be  of  God, 
the  whole  world  lieth  in  wickedness,  and  the  most  are  the  children  of 
the  devil.  If  to  some,  what  is  the  reason  of  the  restraint  ?  How  will 
you  know  who  they  are,  but  by  being  believers,  or  doing  righteousness, 
and  loving  our  brother  ? 

[2.]  It  informeth  us  that  if  conscience  be  a  judge  and  witness  within 
us,  in  order  to  our  joy  and  comfort,  then  we  must  judge  by  what  we 
are,  or  what  we  have  done,  or  how  we  have  lived  ;  for  conscience  can 
take  notice  of  no  other  things.  Now  it  is  certain  that  conscience  hath 
a  great  hand  and  stroke  in  our  comfort,  assurance,  and  peace :  Acts 
xxiv.  16,  '  And  herein  do  I  exercise  myself,  to  have  always  a  conscience 
void  of  offence  towards  God  and  towards  men  ; '  2  Cor.  i.  12, '  For  our 
rejoicing  is  this,  the  testimony  of  our  conscience,  that,  in  simplicity  and 
godly  sincerity,  we  have  had  our  conversation  in  the  world  ; '  1  John 
iii.  20,  21,  'If  our  hearts  condemn  us,  God  is  greater  than  our  hearts, 
and  knoweth  all  things.  If  our  hearts  condemn  us  not,  then  have  we 
confidence  towards  God.'    Much  dependeth  on  its  verdict  and  testimony. 

[3.]  We  shall  be  judged  according  to  these  things  by  God,  and  there- 
fore we  should  judge  ourselves  by  them;  for  we  cannot  judge  by  a 
lighter  way  than  God  will  judge,  whether  our  estate  be  good  or  bad. 
Now  this  is  the  way  of  God's  procedure  :  Kev.  xx.  12,  '  All  of  us  shall 
be  judged  according  to  our  works.' 

[4.]  If  the  Lord  hath  propounded  this  Avay  as  a  likely  course  to 
produce  solid  consolation,  surely  man  should  not  murmur  against  it, 
and  gratify  the  cavils  of  the  loose  professor.  But  even  so  it  is :  Gal. 
vi.  4,  'Let  every  man  prove  his  own  work,  and  then  shall  he  have 
rejoicing  in  himself  alone,  and  not  in  another.'  Many  rejoice  in  this, 
that  others  are  worse  than  they  ;  but  they  should  try  their  own  work 
and  carriage  by  the  rule,  for  otherwise  they  do  but  rejoice  in  the  sins 
of  others.  No ;  prove  so  as  you  may  approve  your  own  work,  that  is, 
your  own  state  and  actions. 

Use  3.  It  is  an  awakening  to  God's  people,  who  after  long  profession 
are  no  more  clear  in  their  own  qualification.  You  should  so  unques- 
tionably carry  it  for  God,  that  others  should  know  you ;  at  least  you 
should  know  j'our  own  selves  :  '  Examine  yourselves,  prove  yourselves ; 
know  ye  not  your  own  selves,  how  that  Jesus  Christ  is  in  you,  except  ye 
be  reprobates?  '  It  is  a  shame  to  live  so  long,  and  not  to  know  what 
is  in  us.     But  you  will  say,  If  the  case  be  so  evident,  why  then  do  so 

VeR,  10.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  81 

many  good  people  want  assurance,  and  live  in  doubtfulness  of  their 
sincerity  ?     I  answer — 

1.  There  need  two  witnesses:  Kom.  viii.  16,  'The  Spirit  itself  bear- 
eth  witness  with  our  spirit  that  we  are  the  children  of  God  ; '  Eom.  ix. 
1,  '  I  say  the  truth  in  Christ,  and  lie  not,  my  conscience  bearing  me 
witness  in  the  Holy  Ghost.'  Why  ?  Because  the  heart  of  man  is  so 
deceitful,  Jer.  xvii.  9,  and  the  operations  of  it  so  various,  dark,  and 
confused,  that  we  dare  not  trust  our  private  judgment :  1  Cor.  iv.  4, 
'  For  I  know  nothing  by  myself,  yet  am  I  not  thereby  justified.' 

2.  That  so  few  know  their  spiritual  condition  is  through  their  own 
default,  for  otherwise  the  Spirit  is  ready  to  witness,  if  we  are  ready  to 
receive  his  testimony.     There  is  a  fourfold  fault — 

[1.]  They  do  not  exercise  grace  to  the  life  in  the  mortifying  of  sin 
or  perfecting  of  holiness,  and  thei-efore  the  remainders  of  sin  are  active 
and  troublesome,  and  grace  is  weak  and  small,  and  doth  little  discover 
itself  in  any  costly  and  self-denying  acts,  and  so  are  not  accompanied 
with  that  delight  and  sweetness  by  which  they  sliould  be  noted  and 
observed.  Surely  great  things  are  more  liable  to  sense  and  feeling  than 
little  ;  a  staff  is  sooner  found  than  a  needle,  and  they  that  cross  the  in- 
clinations of  corrupt  nature  can  sooner  discern  a  divine  spirit  and  power 
working  in  them  than  others  that  only  cull  out  the  safe,  cheap,  and 
easy  part  of  religion  ;  as  valour  is  more  seen  in  an  open  field  than  by 
lurking  in  a  garrison. 

[2.]  It  may  be  they  do  not  examine  their  state  or  heed  soul-affairs, 
that  they  may  get  their  uprightness  interpreted :  1  Cor.  xi.  28,  '  But 
let  a  man  examine  himself,  and  so  let  him  eat  of  the  bread,  and  drink  of 
the  cup ; '  2  Cor.  xiii.  4,  *  Examine  yourselves,  prove  j'ourselves ;  know 
ye  not  your  own  selves,  that  Jesus  Christ  is  in  you,  except  ye  are  repro- 
bates ?  '  Now  if  men  do  not  reflect  upon  themselves,  no  wonder  they 
be  ignorant  of  their  own  estate. 

[3.]  Sometimes,  out  of  a  faulty  modesty  and  humility,  they  deny 
what  is  wrought  in  them  and  by  them.  A  child  of  God  should  own 
his  graces  as  well  as  corruptions.  Hezekiah  said,  2  Kings  xx.  3,  '  0 
Lord,  remember  now  how  I  have  walked  before  thee  in  truth,  and  with 
a  perfect  heart,  and  done  that  which  is  good  in  thy  sight.'  We  should  not 
so  far  look  to  what  we  should  be  as  not  to  observe  what  we  are  and 
liave  already  been  ;  for  the  day  of  small  things  must  not  be  despised, 
Zech.  iv.  10.  The  owneth  grace  in  the  midst  of  infirmities  : 
Cant.  V.  2,  '  I  sleep,  but  my  heart  waketh  ; '  and  he  in  the  Gospel,  Mark 
ix.  24,  '  Lord,  I  believe  ;  help  thou  my  unbelief.'  We  are  sensible  of 
a  disease  more  than  health.  We  come  short  of  what  we  should  have, 
Init  is  there  nothing  of  God  in  our  souls  ?  We  should  not  only  observe 
our  sins  and  infirmities,  but  also  take  notice  of  the  good  things  that 
are  found  in  us.  Christ  taxeth  this  over-humility  in  Peter  :  John  xiii. 
8,  '  Peler  saith  unto  him,  Thou  shalt  never  wash  my  feet.  Jesus  an- 
swered, If  I  wash  thee  not,  thou  hast  no  part  with  me.' 

[4.]  The  general  cause  is  laziness  :  2  Peter  i.  10, '  Give  all  diligence 
to  make  your  calling  and  election  sure  ; '  Heb.  vi.  11,  '  And  we  desire 
that  every  one  of  you  do  show  the  same  diligence,  to  the  full  assurance 
of  hope  unto  the  end  ; '  2  Peter  iii.  14,  '  Seeing  that  ye  look  for  such 
things,  be  diligent,  that  you  may  be  found  of  him  in  peace.'     So  far  as 

VOL.  XXI.  y 

82  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XVI. 

we  neglect  our  duty,  the  sense  of  our  interest  may  abate.  Foolish  pre- 
sumption costs  a  man  nothing,  but  solid  assurance  cometh  with  dili- 
gence ;  and  the  more  grace  is  exercised  in  acts  of  communion  with 
God,  the  more  it  is  known  by  us  :  Job  xxii.  21, '  Acquaint  thyself  with 
God,  and  be  at  peace/  In  difficulties  and  afflictions :  Heb.  xii.  11, 
'  No  chasteniug  for  the  present  seemeth  joyous,  but  grievous  ;  but  after- 
wards it  yieldeth  the  peaceable  fruits  of  righteousness.'  In  all  the 
duties  of  holiness  :  John  xiv*.  21, 23,  '  He  that  hath  my  commandments, 
and  keepeth  them,  he  it  is  that  lovetli  me  ;  and  he  that  loveth  me  shall 
be  loved  of  my  Father,  and  I  will  love  him,  and  manifest  myself  to  him. 
If  a  man  love  me,  he  will  keep  my  words,  and  my  Father  will  love  him  ; 
and  we  will  come  unto  him,  and  make  our  abode  with  him.'  In  duties 
towards  God  :  Heb.  xi.  4,  '  By  faith  Abel  offered  unto  God  a  more  ex- 
cellent sacrifice  than  Cain,  by  which  he  obtained  witness  that  he  was 
righteous.'  In  duties  towards  men  :  1  John  iii.  19,  '  And  hereby  we 
know  we  are  of  the  truth,  and  shall  assure  our  hearts  before  him.' 

Doct.  2.  That  purity  and  charity  are  true  notes  of  God's  children. 

These  are  characters  laid  down  here,  as  manifest  evidences  whereby 
our  estate  may  be  determined. 

First,  Purity.  See  how  it  is  described  in  the  text,  '  He  that  doeth 
not  righteousness  is  not  of  God.'     Where  observe — 

1.  That  not  only  sins  of  commission,  but  omission,  may  render  our 
estate  questionable.  He  had  said  before,  '  He  that  committeth  sin  is 
of  the  devil ; '  now  he  altereth  his  manner  of  speaking,  '  He  that  doeth 
not  righteousness  is  not  of  God,'  and  so  by  consequence  of  the  devil, 
though  he  should  not  offend  by  doing  harm  or  doing  unrighteousness. 
To  do  righteousness  is  to  do  that  which  righteousness  calleth  for  and 
requireth  at  our  hands,  when  time  and  occasion  is  offered  ;  and  he  that 
doth  not  so  is  not  of  God  ;  and  therefore  not  only  commission  of  sin, 
but  neglect  of  a  christian  life,  involveth  us  in  this  blemish  of  being 
children  of  the  devil :  Mat.  iii.  10,  '  Every  tree  that  bringeth  not  forth 
good  fruit  is  hewn  down,  and  cast  into  the  fire.'  Not  only  the  poisonous, 
but  the  barren  tree.  And  it  is  made  the  character  of  the  wicked  :  Ps. 
xxxvi.  3,  '  He  hath  left  off  to  be  wise,  and  to  do  good.'  To  cast  ofi"  or 
neglect  the  ways  of  wisdom  and  holiness  is  an  argument  of  wickedness, 
though  no  other  apparent  evil  should  be  charged  upon  us.  The  unprofit- 
able servant  is  cast  into  everlasting  fire.  Mat.  xxv.  30;  not  he  that  embez- 
zled his  talent,  but  folded  it  in  a  napkin.  Many  think,  if  they  do  nobody 
any  harm,  God  will  accept  them ;  but  what  good  do  you  do  ?  That  child 
is  counted  undutiful  not  only  that  doth  not  wrong  and  beat  his  father, 
but  he  that  doth  not  give  him  due  reverence.  Therefore  it  should 
humble  us  that  we  do  no  more  good,  that  we  so  much  neglect  God, 
that  we  do  no  more  edify  our  neighbour,  or  take  care  for  the  saving 
of  our  souls.  We  think  omissions  no  sins,  or  light  sins,  but  God  doth 
not  think  so.  Surely  omissions  are  sins  ;  there  is  in  them  the  nature 
of  the  first  sin,  as  considered  in  Adam  or  us ;  there  was  an  aversion 
from  God,  and  a  conversion  to  the  creature.  In  us  there  is  carentia 
originalis  jiistitioe,  first  a  want  of  that  grace  that  should  incline  us  to 
God,  and  then  followeth  all  the  corruption  and  pollution  of  nature ; 
the  daughter  is  like  the  mother.  In  actual  sin  there  is  a  cessation 
of  acts  of  love  to  God,  then  inordinate  acts  of  self-love :  Titus  ii.  12, 

VeR.  10.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  83 

'  Teaching  ns  that,  denying  ungodliness  and  worldly  lusts.'  Secondly, 
From  the  natuie  of  the  law.  A  sin  of  omission  is  contrary  to  the  pre- 
cept, as  well  as  a  sin  of  commission.  To  the  prohibition  :  '  Cease  to 
do  evil,  learn  to  do  well,'  Isa.  i.  16.  There  we  must  use  the  bridle, 
here  the  spur.  Thirdly,  Our  mercies  are  not  only  privative,  but  posi- 
tive ;  deliverance  from  hell,  and  eternal  life,  John  iii.  16.  God  is  both 
a  sun  and  a  shield,  Ps.  Ixxxiv.  11  ;  Gen.  xv.  1,  '  I  am  thy  shield,  and 
thy  exceeding  great  reward.'  As  our  mercies,  so  our  obedience.  Sin- 
ning is  a  direct  way  to  hell,  as  doing  righteousness  is  to  heaven. 
Fourthly,  Christ  came  that  we  might  live  unto  righteousness,  as  well 
as  die  unto  sin,  1  Peter  ii.  24  ;  to  promote  vivification  as  well  as  morti- 
fication ;  that  we  might  know  the  power  of  his  resurrection  as  well  as 
be  planted  into  the  likeness  of  his  death  ;  that  the  good  principle  might 
be  cherished  and  induced  into  act,  as  well  as  the  bad  principle  curbed  and 
restrained.  Fifthly,  Because  we  cannot  else  improve  our  talents,  but 
God's  best  gifts  would  lie  idle  upon  our  hands  if  we  did  not  exercise  our- 
selves unto  godliness.  Every  relation  puts  new  duties  upon  us  ;  so  doth 
every  new  gift  and  talent.  To  be  sure  our  relation  to  God  calleth  for 
more  duty  at  our  hands  than  we  are  wont  to  perform  ;  and  the  general 
wickedness  that  is  charged  upon  mankind  is,  that  they  do  not  seek 
after  God,  Ps.  xiv.  2  ;  and  Ps.  x.  3, 4, '  The  wicked  through  the  pride  of 
his  heart  will  not  seek  after  God ;  God  is  not  in  all  his  thoughts.'  But  be- 
sides this,  consider  our  relations  to  one  another,  as  magistrates,  subjects, 
ministers,  christians,  parents  and  children,  masters  and  servants  ;  con 
sider  this,  and  you  will  find  that  the  greatest  part  of  the  sins  of  the  world 
lieth  in  sins  of  omission.  When  we  look  into  our  bill,  to  see  what  we 
owe  to  God,  according  to  the  advice  of  the  unjust  steward,  instead  of  a 
hundred,  to  put  down  fifty,  we  leave  out  all  our  omissions.  We  do  not 
worship  an  idol,  but  we  forget  the  true  God  days  without  number,  Jer. 
ii.  32.  We  do  not  take  away  that  which  is  another's,  but  do  not  give 
our  own  ;  they  do  not  swear,  but  do  they  honour  and  glorify  the  name  of 
God  in  their  conversations  ? 

2.  But  let  us  explain  the  nature  of  this  doing  righteousness.  It  is 
to  fear  God,  and  walk  in  all  his  ways :  Acts  x.  35,  '  He  that  feareth 
God  and  worketh  righteousness.'  Or  he  is  said  to  do  righteousness 
who,  being  justified  and  sanctified  by  the  Spirit,  doth  give  up  himself 
to  God  to  do  his  will,  and  maketh  it  the  business  of  his  life  to  grow 
more  complete  therein.  Renewing  is  in  it :  Eph.  ii,  10,  '  Ye  are  his 
workmanship,  created  in  Jesus  Christ  unto  good  works.'  Dedication 
is  in  it :  Rom.  vi.  13,  '  But  yield  yourselves  unto  God,  as  those  that 
are  alive  from  the  dead,  and  your  members  as  instruments  of 
righteousness  unto  God.'  The  will  of  God  is  your  rule  :  Rom.  xii.  2, 
'  That  ye  may  prove  what  is  that  good  and  acceptable  will  of  God.' 
After  dedication,  our  work  and  business  should  be  to  '  live  soberly, 
i-ighteously,  and  godly  in  this  present  world,'  Titus  ii.  12.  This  is 
the  righteousness  which  should  so  be  carried  on  from  an  everlasting 
principle  by  a  divine  rule  to  eternal  ends.  Well,  then,  they  do  but 
arrogate  a  place  and  a  name  among  God's  people  that  do  not  live 

Secondly,  The  next  mark  is  charity  ;  this  is  not  mentioned  at  ran- 
dom, nor  merely  to  bring  on  another  discourse,  but  with  good  advice. 


1.  The  general  note  of  God's  children  is  holiness,  and  the  particular 
note  is  love  of  the  brethren.  It  is  a  great  branch  of  righteousness, 
take  it  largely  for  holiness,  or  more  strictly  for  our  duty  to  our  neighbour. 
So  alms  is  often  called  righteousness  in  scripture  ;  for  doing  good  is 
one  special  act  of  our  duty,  and  so  a  branch  of  righteousness  :  Ps.  cxii. 
9,  '  He  hath  given  to  the  poor,  and  his  righteousness  endnreth  for 
ever  ; '  Isa.  Iviii.  7,  8,  '  If  thou  give  thy  bread  to  the  hungry,  then 
(shall  thy  righteousness  go  before  thee.' 

2.  It  explaineth  the  former  note  ;  for  righteousness  and  love  to  the 
brethren  are  joined  together,  and  so  it  showeth  that  he  doth  righteous- 
ness whose  works  are  good,  and  come  from  a  good  spirit,  from  love  to 
God,  which  is  the  soul  of  all  duties ;  for  he  that  loveth  his  brother  for 
God's  sake  loveth  God:  Gal.  v.  14,  'Ail  the  law  is  fulfilled  in  this  one 
word,  Thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbour  as  thyself.'  How  all  the  law  ? 
Namely,  as  second-table  duties  arise  out  of  the  first,  and  are  done  for 
God's  sake. 

3.  He  is  speaking  of  being  born  of  God,  and  the  seed  of  God.  We 
resemble  God  in  nothing  so  much  as  love :  1  John  iv.  8,  16,  '  He  that 
loveth  not  knoweth  not  God,  for  God  is  love.  God  is  love,  and  he 
that  dwelleth  in  love  dwelleth  in  God,  and  God  in  him.'  And  we 
resemble  the  devil  mostly  by  malice.  It  is  the  devil's  work  to  do  all 
the  hurt  he  can  to  the  bodies  and  souls  of  men,  '  for  the  devil  is  a 
murderer  from  the  beginning,'  John  viii.  44.  Devouring  malice  is  the 
true  image  of  Satan,  the  devilish  nature  in  us.  When  Jesus  Christ 
came  to  discover  the  amiableness  of  the  divine  nature  to  us,  it  is  said. 
Acts  X.  38,  '  He  went  about  doing  good,  and  healing  all  that  were 
oppressed  by  the  devil,  for  God  was  with  him.'  Christ  did  nothing  by 
way  of  malice  and  revenge ;  he  used  not  the  power  that  he  had  to 
make  men  blind  or  lame,  or  to  kill  any ;  no,  not  his  worst  enemies, 
when  he  could  easily  have  done  it,  and  justly  might  have  done  it.  No ; 
he  went  up  and  down  giving  sight  to  the  blind,  and  limbs  to  the  lame, 
health  to  the  sick,  and  life  to  the  dead.  Therefore  those  that  are  God's 
children,  and  are  born  of  God,  and  have  the  seed  of  God  abiding  in 
them,  should  be  as  zealous  in  doing  good  to  all  as  Satan's  servants  are 
in  hurting. 

4.  Much  of  Christianity  consists  in  love  and  doing  good.  Love  is 
made  to  be  the  fulfilling  of  the  law,  Kom.  xiii.  8,  the  end  of  the  gos- 
pel institution :  1  Tim.  i.  15,  'Now' the  end  of  the  commandment  is 
charity.'  The  great  lesson  which  God  teacheth  us :  'Ye  yourselves  are 
taught  of  God  to  love  one  another,'  1  Thes.  iv.  9.  The  grand  character- 
istic of  Clirist's  disciples,  by  which  they  are  notified  to  themselves  and 
others :  John  xiii.  35,  '  By  this  shall  all  men  know  that  ye  are  my 
disciples,  if  ye  have  love  one  to  another.'  With  what  eyes  do  men  read 
the  gospel  that  can  overlook  all  these  things,  and  live  in  malice,  envy, 
and  hatred  ? 

5.  The  parties  to  be  loved  are  called  brethren,  and  elsewhere  neigh- 
bours. Mat.  xxii.  39.  By  common  nature  every  neighbour  is  a  brother ; 
but  saints  have  the  pre-eminence  in  this  love,  but  not  the  confinement : 
'  Do  good  to  all,  especially  to  the  household  of  faith,'  Gal.  vi.  8  ;  2  Peter 
i.  7, '  And  add  to  brotherly-kindness,  love.'  Enemies  are  not  excepted  : 
I'lat.  v.  44,  45,  '  Love  your  enemies,  bless  them  that  curse  you,  do  good 

VeU.  10.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  85 

to  them  that  hate  you,  and  pray  for  them  that  despitefully  use  you,  and 
persecute  you.'  God  must  be  loved  in  all  his  creatures ;  his  natural 
image  in  all  men,  his  spiritual  image  in  his  saints.  Well,  then,  if  you 
would  be  accounted  children  of  }'our  Father  which  is  in  heaven,  love  to 
all  in  their  several  capacities  must  be  your  very  nature,  and  the  doing 
them  all  the  good  that  you  can  must  be  the  very  business  of  your 

Use.  Look  after  these  evidences,  and  see  they  be  more  and  more  found 
in  you. 

i.  Nothing  quiets  the  mind  but  a  persuasion  that  God  loveth  us  as 
his  children,  and  that  he  will  give  us  eternal  life.  Get  this  persuasion 
once,  that  God  is  your  Father  and  you  are  his  children,  and  then  all  the 
controversy  between  God  and  us  is  at  an  end.  The  reason  is  clear : 
He  that  taketh  God  for  a  judge  only  can  never  be  fully  satisfied  in  his 
condition,  nor  live  in  peace  ;  there  is  no  safety  but  in  God's  family, 
and  no  holy  security  but  in  being  his  children.  The  great  business  of 
the  Spirit  of  God  is  to  clear  this  to  us :  Rom.  viii.  15,  'But  you  have 
received  the  Spirit  of  adoption,  crying,  Abba,  Father.'  So  Gal.  iv.  6, 
'  Because  ye  are  sons,  he  hath  sent  forth  the  Spirit  of  his  Son  into  your 
hearts,  crying,  Abba,  Father  ; '  Eph  i.  13,  14,  '  Whom  also  after  ye 
believed,  ye  were  sealed  with  the  Holy  Spirit  of  promise,  which  is  the 
earnest  of  our  inheritance,  until  the  redemption  of  the  purchased  posses- 
sion, unto  the  praise  of  his  glory.'  The  great  business  of  our  Redeemer 
was  to  purchase  this  blessing  for  us  :  Gal.  iv.  5,  '  To  redeem  them  that 
were  under  the  law,  that  we  might  receive  the  adoption  of  sons  ; '  John 
viii.  36,  '  If  the  Son  make  you  free,  then  are  you  free  indeed.'  The 
great  privilege  which  we  have  by  baptism  as  a  sign  :  Gal.  iii.  26,  27, 
'  For  ye  are  all  children  of  God,  by  faith  in  Jesus  Christ.  For  as  many 
of  you  as  have  been  baptized  into  Christ,  have  put  on  Christ'  By  faith 
as  to  the  reality  :  John  i.  12, '  To  as  many  as  received  him,  to  them  gave 
he  power  to  become  the  sons  of  God,  even  to  them  that  believe  on  his 
name.'  The  church  of  the  new  testament,  as  to  her  outward  estate,  is 
an  estate  of  sonship  and  adoption  ;  and  the  truly  godly  have  the  real 
effect  of  it ;  they  have  the  dignity,  the  privileges  or  the  rights  which 
belong  to  the  children  of  God. 

2.  Purity  of  life  and  charity,  which  are  here  asserted  to  be  the  two 
sure  signs  of  a  child  of  God,  are  to  be  understood  evangelically.  If  so, 
then  they  that  lead  impious  and  uncharitable  lives  are  no  children  of 
God,  however  they  flatter  themselves  in  the  goodness  of  their  estate. 
The  exclusive  mark  is  more  easy  than  the  inclusive,  because  of  the  many 
failings  of  God's  children,  who  have  a  deep  reverence  for  God's  holiness 
and  the  exactness  of  his  law,  therefore  they  are  not  so  clear.  What 
shall  be  said  to  them  ?  They  must  labour  to  make  their  qualification 
more  explicit,  and  remember  it  is  to  be  interpreted  evangelically,  that 
is,  if  they  be  sincere.  The  first  covenant  required  unsinning  obedience, 
the  second  alloweth  of  uprightness  and  sinceritj-  ;  the  old  covenant 
bringeth  all  things  to  the  balance,  the  new  to  the  touchstone.  If  the  best 
of  us  were  put  into  the  balance  of  the  sanctuary,  we  should  be  found 
wanting,  and  then  who  can  be  saved?  Ps.  Ixxxiv.  11,  'He  is  a  sun 
and  a  shield,  and  will  give  grace  and  glory,  and  no  good  thing  will  he 
withhold  from  them  that  walk  uprightly.'     The  upright  are  the  Lord's 


delight,  Prov.  xi.  20.  These  may  take  comfort  in  God,  as  God 
delighteth  in  them,  both  in  affliction  and  prosperity  :  Ps.  cxii  9,  '  To 
the  upright  there  ariseth  hght  in  darkness,'  not  only  after,  but  in  life  : 
2  Cor,  i.  12,  '  This  is  my  rejoicing,  the  testimony  of  my  consci- 
ence, that,  in  simplicity  and  godly  sincerity,  we  have  had  our  conversa- 
tion in  the  world.'  In  death :  2  Kings  xx.  3,  '  Remember,  0  Lord, 
that  I  have  walked  before  thee  with  a  perfect  heart,  and  done  that  which 
is  good  in  thy  sight.' 

3.  No  sincerity  is  to  be  discerned  but  by  our  constant  walk  and  course : 
*  He  is  a  sun  and  a  shield  to  them  that  walk  uprightly  ; '  and  '  I  have 
walked  before  thee  with  a  perfect  heart.'  Here  the  upright  are 
described  by  their  conversations  ;  newness  of  life  is  the  perpetual  testi- 
mony of  our  adoption.  A  man  may  force  himself  for  an  act  or  two ; 
Saul  in  a  raptural  fit  may  be  among  the  prophets  ;  therefore  we  are 
to  judge  by  our  scope  and  walk.  A  child  of  God  may  be  under  a 
strange  appearance  in  some  simple  acts ;  so  the  wicked  have  their  good 
moods  ;  an  aguish  man  hath  his  well  days  :  Ps.  cvi.  3,  '  But  blessed 
are  they  that  keep  judgment,  and  do  righteousness  at  all  times.' 


For  this  is  the  message  that  ye  heard  frovi  the  beginning,  that  ice 
should  love  one  another. — 1  John  iii.  11. 

In  these  words  we  have  a  reason  of  the  last  clause  in  the  former  verse, 
why  he  that  lovetli  not  his  brother  is  not  of  God.  This  is  his  argu- 
ment :  He  that  keepeth  not  God's  commandments  is  not  of  God ;  he 
that  loveth  not  his  brother  keepeth  not  God's  commandments.  The 
major  is  evident  in  itself,  the  minor  is  proved  in  the  text,  '  For  this  is 
the  message  that  ye  have  heard  from  the  beginning,'  &c. 
In  the  words  we  have — 

1.  A  duty,  '  That  we  should  love  one  another.' 

2.  The  authority  by  which  it  is  recommended  to  us,  '  This  is  the 
message  that  ye  have  heard  from  the  beginning.'     Where — 

[1.]  It  is  a  message  or  command,  '"This  is  the  message.' 
[2.]  An  ancient  doctrine  or  command,  '  Which  ye  have  heard  from 
the  beginning.' 

1.  The  duty  recommended  to  us,  which  is  mutual  love,  '  That  we 
.should  love  one  another ; '  that  is,  that  we  should  love  all  men,  but 
chiefly  that  christians  should  love  christians. 

2.  The  authority  by  which  this  command  is  enforced. 

[1.]  It  is  the  declaration  and  message,  or  the  commandment.  Every- 
thing we  read  in  the  word  of  God,  or  hear  from  the  word  of  God,  is 
a  special  message  sent  from  God  :  Acts  xiii.  20,  '  To  you  is  the  word 
of  this  salvation  sent;'  not  brought,  but  sent.  I  allude  to  that  of 
Judges  iii.  20, '  I  have  a  message  from  God  to  thee,  and  he  arose  off  his 
seat.'  Eveiy  message  from  God  bespeaketh  its  own  respect  and  re- 

VeR.  11.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  87 

[2.]  '  From  the  beginning  *. '  The  same  phrase  is  used  1  John  ii.  7, '  I 
write  no  new  commandment  unto  you,  but  the  old  commandment 
which  ye  have  heard  from  the  beginning.'  This  is  to  be  understood 
either — 

(1.)  From  the  beginning  of  their  conversion,  since  ye  were  called  to 
the  knowledge  of  God.  Love  is  one  of  the  first  lessons  of  Christianity ; 
for,  Gal.  V.  6,  'Faith  worketh  by  love  ; '  and  Eph.  i.  15,  'After  I  heard 
of  your  faith  in  the  Lord  Jesus,  and  love  to  all  the  saints ; '  expressing 
thereby  their  Christianity.  Ever  since  they  became  christians  they 
were  possessed  with  the  necessity  of  this  duty. 

(2.)  From  the  beginning  of  the  gospel  state,  or  ever  since  the  faith  of 
Christ  was  published  and  preached  in  the  world.  This  is  the  doctrine 
so  often  and  so  earnestly  inculcated  by  Christ  when  he  was  here  upon 
earth  :  John  xiii.  34,  35,  '  A  new  commandment  I  give  unto  you,  that 
ye  love  one  another  ;  that  as  I  have  loved  you,  so  ye  love  one  another. 
By  this  shall  all  men  know  that  ye  are  my  disciples,  if  ye  have  love  one 
to  another ; '  and  John  xv.  12, '  This  is  my  commandment,  that  ye  love 
one  another,  as  I  have  loved  you.'  And  this  is  often  inculcated  by 
our  apostle,  as  one  that  lay  in  Christ's  bosom,  and  had  a  true  sense  of 
his  Master's  doctrine,  and  did  partake  largely  of  his  spirit. 

(3.)  From  the  beginning  of  the  Mosaical  administration,  even  under 
the  law,  this  was  a  duty  pressed  :  Lev.  xix.  18,  '  Thou  shalt  love  thy 
neighbour  as  tliyself ;  I  am  the  Lord.'  And  the  neighbour  was  not 
only  the  Jewish  neighbour,  or  one  that  lived  within  the  pale  and  line 
of  the  Jewish  communion,  as  appeareth  by  the  language  of  the  com- 
mandment :  Mat.  XX.  16, 17,  'Thou  shalt  not  bear  false  witness  against 
thy  neighbour.  Thou  shalt  not  covet  thy  neighbour's  house  ;  '  which 
prohibitions  imply  the  gentile  as  well  as  the  Jewish  neighbour.  All 
men,  considered  as  men  in  respect  of  nature  and  creation,  are  our 
brethren  ;  so  an  Edomite  is  reckoned  a  brother,  Deut.  xxiii.  7.  So  in 
respect  of  commerce  and  occasion  of  intercourse  they  are  our  neigh- 
bours ;  to  them  must  we  perform  all  acts  of  love  and  mercy,  as  their 
necessities  do  require. 

(4.)  From  the  beginning  of  the  world,  ever  since  Adam  ;  for  it  was 
not  only  enforced  by  Christ's  and  Moses'  law,  but  implanted  and  en- 
grafted on  man's  heart  or  the  law  of  nature.  It  is  a  matter  of 
natural  equity  to  love  our  neighbour,  to  do  or  not  to  do  to  others  as  we 
would  have  done  or  not  done  to  ourselves,  Mat.  vii.  12.  The  gentiles 
were  bound  to  this  by  the  law  of  nature.  Well,  then,  you  see  love  to  one 
another  was  always  in  great  esteem  with  God  ;  therefore  every  one  that 
is  born  of  God  should  make  great  conscience  of  it.  If  the  gentiles,  by 
the  law  of  nature,  were  bound  to  love  others  as  themselves,  and  the 
Jews  by  the  law  of  Moses,  much  more  are  christians  under  an  obli- 
gation by  the  express  command  of  Christ  to  love  one  another. 

Doct.  One  great  duty  which  God  hath  recommended  to  our  obedi- 
ence is  to  love  one  another. 

Here  I  shall  show  you — 

1.  What  is  this  love  to  one  another. 

2.  How  God  hath  recommended  it  to  our  obedience. 

I.  What  is  this  love  to  one  another  ?  There  are  two  branches  of  it : 
2  Peter  i.  7,  '  And  to  brotherly  kindness,  charity.' 


First,  There  is  contained  in  it  brotherly  kindness,  a  grace  wrought 
in  us  by  the  Holy  Spirit,  inclining  us  to  love  all  those  without  excep- 
tion as  brethren  who  are  made  partakers  of  like  precious  faith  with  us. 
In  which  description  note — 

1.  The  author  of  this  grace,  and  that  is  the  Holy  Spirit  renewing 
the  heart :  1  Peter  i.  22,  '  Seeing  ye  have  purified  your  hearts  through 
the  Spirit,  unto  unfeigned  love  of  the  brethren  ;  see  that  ye  love  one 
another  with  a  pure  heart  fervently.'  Naturally  there  is  in  us  pride, 
self-love,  wrath,  strife,  which  dispose  us  only  to  please  ourselves  and  love 
ourselves,  without  any  regard  to  others  ;  and  besides,  till  our  souls  be 
purified  and  sanctified,  we  shall  never  love  purity  and  holiness  iu 
others,  but  the  upright  will  be  an  abomination  to  us  :  Prov.  xxix.  27, 
'  He  that  is  upright  iu  the  way  is  an  abomination  to  the  wicked.'  They 
are  unsuitable  to  them,  and  they  are  objects  reviving  guilt.  Whatever 
good  nature  men  have  yet  in  their  natural  condition,  they  are  enemies 
to  the  godly.  Naturally  we  hate  God  because  he  is  a  holy  God,  and 
we  hate  his  law  because  it  is  a  holy  law,  and  we  hate  his  children 
because  they  are  a  holy  people  ;  but  when  the  soul  is  purified,  its  love 
and  inclinations  and  aversions  are  altered,  both  as  to  persons  and  things. 
We  love  God  for  his  holiness,  Ps.  ciii.  1 ;  we  love  his  law  because  it  is 
pure,  Ps  cxix.  140  ;  and  we  love  his  people  because  they  are  holy  : 
Ps.  XV.  4,  '  In  whose  eyes  a  vile  person  is  contemned,  but  he  honoureth 
them  that  fear  the  Lord.'  The  new  creature  loveth  what  God  loveth, 
and  hatetli  what  God  hateth. 

2.  There  is  a  propension  or  inclination  in  the  new  nature  to  this 
love,  with  all  the  acts  and  fruits  of  it,  though  no  outward  respects 
invite  us  thereunto  :  1  Thes.  iv.  9,  '  Concerning  brotherly  love,  ye  need 
not  that  any  should  write  unto  you,  for  ye  are  taught  of  God  to  love 
one  another.'  Instruction  and  persuasion  doth  not  put  us  upon  it  so 
much  as  inclination,  and  the  tendency  of  the  new  nature  :  1  John  iv.  7, 
'  Every  one  that  loveth  is  born  of  God  ; '  and  1  John  v.  1,  '  He  that 
loveth  him  that  begat,  loveth  also  those  that  are  begotten  by  him.' 
Those  that  have  the  new  nature  in  any  degree  of  strength  and  preval- 
ency  are  mclined  and  disposed  by  it  to  love  others,  who  are  partakers 
of  the  same  nature  ;  so  that  it  is  a  duty  kindly  and  natural  to  the 
regenerate,  flowing  from  an  inward  propension  and  inclination,  and 
needeth  not  much  outward  excitement.  All  the  saints  have  a  new 
heart  of  one  and  the  same  making  >and  nature,  and  propound  unto 
themselves  one  and  the  same  end  and  scope,  and  so  their  hearts  are 
suited  to  one  another,  and  take  pleasure  in  one  another. 

3.  The  acts  and  fruits  of  this  love  are  these — 

[1.]  An  esteem  of  them,  and  complacency  in  them,  as  having  more 
of  God  in  them  than  other  men.  They  are  said  to  be  partakers  of  the 
divine  nature,  2  Peter  i.  4.  We  love  God's  natural  image  in  all  men  ; 
we  love  his  spiritual  image  in  the  saints ;  and  therefore  the  bond  is 
stronger  than  the  bond  of  common  love :  Ps.  xvi.  3,  '  My  goodness 
extendeth  not  to  thee,  but  to  the  saints  that  are  in  the  earth,  and  to 
the  excellent,  in  whom  is  all  my  delight ; '  Prov.  xii.  26,  '  The  righteous 
is  more  excellent  than  his  neighbour,'  therefore  a  greater  object  of  love  ; 
as  Austin  said  of  himself  and  his  friend  Alypius,  that  their  friendship 
grew  more  entire  when  they  both  became  acquainted  with  Christ,  and 

VeR.  11.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III,  89 

were  cemented  together  with  the  blood  of  Christ.  Eodem  sanguine 
Christi  filutinati. 

[2.]  By  an  affectionate  desire  of  their  good  and  spiritual  happiness. 
The  philosopher  telleth  us  to  love  any  is  to  wish  well  to  them,  to  desire 
them  all  the  good  we  can  ;  and  we  cannot  desire  a  greater  good  to 
others  than  spiritual  good,  than  the  best  good  ;  not  to  wish  them  health 
and  strength  of  body,  and  greatness  and  worldly  accommodations,  but 
grace,  peace,  and  joy  in  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  light,  life,  and  eternal 
happiness :  Col.  i.  9,  '  We  cease  not  to  pray  for  you,  and  to  desire  that 
you  may  be  filled  with  all  wisdom  and  spiritual  understanding ; '  Phil, 
i.  8,  '  God  is  my  record,  how  greatly  I  long  after  you  all,  in  the  bowels 
of  Jesus  Christ.'  God  knoweth  the  secret  motions  and  inclinations  of 
our  inward  affections.  Now,  when  wecan  appeal  to  God  for  the  fervency, 
sincerity,  and  spirituality  of  our  love,  and  have  in  some  measure  as 
hearty  a  good-will  to  them  as  Christ  had  to  souls  when  he  died  for 
them,  then  we  have  this  Christ-like  love  which  is  called  brotherly 

[3.]  As  occasion  serveth,  we  must  really  promote  their  good  to  the 
uttermost  of  our  power  ;  for  it  is  a  cold  love  that  will  not  be  at  any 
pains  and  charges,  or  hazard  any  interests,  for  the  sake  of  those  whom 
we  love  ;  that  contenteth  itself  with  wishes,  yea,  though  they  be  formed 
into  prayers.  No  ;  we  must  not  say  only,  Be  warmed,  be  clothed,  but 
really  do  them  good,  and  seek  their  welfare  as  we  would  our  own.  In 
short,  we  must  sympathise  with  them  in  every  condition  :  Kom.  xii. 
15, '  Rejoice  with  them  that  rejoice,  and  weep  with  them  that  weep  ; ' 
1  Cor.  xii.  20,  we  should  have  the  same  care  one  for  another.  Want 
of  feeling  is  a  self-excommunication,  a  casting  ourselves  out  of  the 
body.  Nay,  there  must  be  not  only  sympathy  and  compassion,  but 
real  succour  :  Gal.  vi.  10,  '  Do  good  to  all,  but  especially  to  the  house- 
hold of  faith  ; '  Rom.  xii.  13, '  Distributing  to  the  necessity  of  the  saints, 
given  to  hospitality ; '  Heb.  vi.  10,  '  God  is  not  unrighteous,  to  foiget 
your  work  and  labour  of  love,  in  that  ye  have  ministered  to  the  saints, 
and  do  minister.'  We  must  do  them  all  possible  service,  as  the 
exigencies  of  their  circumstances  and  occasions  do  require,  assisting 
them  with  our  favour,  countenance,  labour,  estates  ;  yea,  and,  as  we 
shall  see  afterwards,  by  hazarding  and  laying  down  life  itself. 

[4.]  By  conversing  with  them,  and  delighting  in  their  fellowship,  for 
our  mutual  comfort  and  edification.  Love  is  a  uniting  thing ;  it 
draweth  to  communion ;  as  the  soul  of  Jonathan  was  knit  to  the  soul 
of  David,  1  Sam.  xviii.  15  ;  and  the  apostle  biddeth  christians  to  be 
knit  together  in  love,  Col.  ii.  2.  Brotherly  love  is  such  an  affection  as 
knits  the  hearts  of  the  professors  of  the  same  faith  to  one  another,  as  if 
they  had  but  one  heart  and  one  soul  in  common  amongst  them :  Acts 
iv.  32,  '  And  the  multitude  of  them  that  believed  were  of  one  heart  and 
one  soul.'  And  therefore  it  is  called  the  bond  of  perfection,  Col.  iii. 
14.  The  saints  are  bound  together  in  a  holy  society,  and  preserved  by 
it ;  and  without  it,  as  a  besom  unbound,  they  fall  all  to  pieces. 

[5.]  In  passing  by  failings  and  infirmities  :  1  Peter  iv.  8,  '  And 
above  all  things,  have  fervent  charity  among  yourselves,  for  charity 
shall  cover  a  multitude  of  sins.'  Love  will  prevent  and  pass  by  many 
mutual  wrongs,  which  otherwise  would  disturb  the  comfortable  society 


of  the  Lord's  people  ;  therefore  brotherly  love  is  not  come  to  its  due 
height,  growth,  and  fervency  when  it  is  easily  interrupted  by  every 
offence.  We  cannot  expect  to  converse  with  any  in  tliis  life  but  some 
failings  and  wrongs  it  is  like  will  be  often  reiterated,  both  against  God 
and  one  another ;  therefore,  unless  we  have  learned  to  pardon  failings, 
we  have  not  learned  the  true  art  of  loving  one  another ;  we  must 
pardon  the  person  for  the  wrong  done  to  us,  and  we  must  intercede 
with  God  for  the  pardon  of  the  wrong  done  to  him.  Love  must  cover 
these,  not  upbraiding  the  party  with  them,  and  concealing  it  from  the 
wicked  as  much  as  may  be,  lest  religion  be  disgraced. 

[6.]  The  impartiality  of  this  love ;  we  must  love  those  without 
exception  who  are  godly,  whether  rich  or  poor,  prosperous  or 

(1.)  Whether  rich  or  poor ;  for  we  must  not  have  the  faith  of  our 
Lord  Jesus  Christ  in  respect  of  persons,  James  ii.  1.  No ;  if  it  be 
sincere,  it  must  be  love  to  all  the  saints,  Eph.  i.  15,  to  the  meanest  as 
well  as  the  greatest,  otherwise  we  despise  the  church  of  God,  1  Cor. 
xi.  20.  Meanness  doth  not  take  away  christian  relations.  There  are 
many  differences  in  worldly  respects  between  one  of  God's  children 
and  another,  and  in  spiritual  gifts  some  are  weak  and  some  are  strong  ; 
yet  we  must  love  all,  for  all  are  brethren  ;  all  are  children  of  one  Father, 
all  owned  by  Christ ;  co-heirs  not  only  with  the  richest  and  strongest 
christians,  but  with  Christ  himself ;  therefore  we  should  love  them 
without  respect  of  persons,  yea,  love  them  when  no  respect  of  our  own 
doth  invite  us  thereunto  ;  for  love  is  not  to  be  measured  by  our  profit, 
but  by  a  desire  to  profit  others. 

(2.)  We  should  love  them  in  adversity  as  well  as  in  prosperity. 
Some  seem  to  love  good  people  when  the  times  favour  them,  and  they 
suffer  no  loss  by  owning  them.  No  ;  you  must  own  them  in  their 
troubles  also  and  persecutions  :  Heb.  x.  33, '  Partly  whilst  ye  were  made 
a  gazing-stock,  both  by  reproaches  and  afflictions,  and  partly  whilst  ye 
became  companions  of  them  who  were  so  used.'  Some  suffered  as  the 
parties  persecuted,  others  as  their  companions,  who  were  not  at  first  in 
the  original  process.  So  Moses  left  all  the  pleasures  of  the  court,  and 
his  friendships  there,  to  join  with  God's  despised  people  :  Heb.  xi.  25, 
'  Choosing  rather  to  suffer  affliction  with  the  people  of  God,  than  to 
enjoy  the  pleasures  of  sin  for  a  season.'  Alas  !  there  are  many  painted 
butterflies  and  summer-friends  to  the  gospel,  who  are  gone  when  the 
sunshine  of  prosperity  is  gone.  Brethren  then  do  almost  forget  that 
they  are  brethren,  if  not  altogether,  and  stand  aloof,  and  are  loath  to 
own  the  afflicted. 

(3.)  We  should  love  them  all,  whether  we  be  obliged  or  disobliged ; 
for  in  brotherly  kindness  we  are  not  to  mind  our  own  things,  but  the 
image  of  God  and  the  glory  of  God,  and  the  good  and  benefit  of  others : 
Phil.  ii.  4,  *  Look  not  every  one  upon  his  own  things,  but  every  man 
also  upon  the  things  of  others.'  Whether  we  are  invited  to  this  love 
by  benefits  or  courtesies  done  to  us,  or  discouraged  by  neglects,  we  are 
to  consider  our  duty  to  people  as  they  stand  related  to  God,  otherwise 
we  know  one  another  after  the  flesh,  when  we  value  men  by  personal 
respects  to  us  rather  than  by  what  of  God  we  find  in  them :  *  If  you 
love  them  that  love  you,  do  not  even  the  publicans  the  same  ? '  Mat, 

VeR.  11.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  111.  91 

V.  46,     What  singular  thing  do  we  ?     We  are  monsters  of  ingratitude 
if  we  should  do  otherwise. 

(4.)  The  objects  of  this  love  are  those  that  are  partakers  of  like 
precious  faitli  with  us,  or,  in  one  word,  the  brethren,  or  our  fellow- 
christians.  Our  brethren  in  a  natural  sense  are  all  mankind,  as  it  is 
said,  Acts  xvii.  16, '  He  hath  made  all  nations  of  one  blood.'  There  is 
a  communion  of  the  same  nature.  But  in  a  christian  sense,  all  the 
faithful  are  brethren  in  Christ,  because  of  the  communion  of  the  same 
faith.  Of  these,  some  are  only  professors  of  the  faith,  who,  in  opposition 
to  infidels,  are  called  brethren :  1  Cor.  v.  11, 12,  '  If  any  called  a  brother 
be  a  fornicator,  or  a  drunkard,  or  a  railer,  or  covetous,  or  an  idolater, 
with  such  an  one  eat  not.'  Others  are  really  regenerate,  or  give  hopeful 
evidences  thereof ;  these  are  born  of  the  same  seed,  adopted  by  the 
same  Father,  brought  up  in  the  same  family,  partakers  of  the  same 
Spirit,  estated  in  the  same  inheritance,  of  the  same  brotherhood  the 
apostle  maketh  mention,  1  Peter  ii.  17.  Now  though  they  should  not 
be  such  as  we  take  them  to  be  by  their  profession,  yet  our  love  is  accept- 
able to  God,  because  we  love  them  upon  this  supposition,  that  they  are 

(5.)  The  reduplication  or  qualification  of  this  object.  These  brethren 
must  be  loved  as  brethren  with  such  a  love,  and  upon  that  account,  as 
Christ  distinguisheth  between  giving  to  a  disciple  and  giving  to  him  in 
the  name  of  a  disciple,  Mat.  x.  42 ;  as  one  that  belongeth  to  Christ, 
stamped  with  the  image  of  God,  and  sealed  with  his  Spirit.  If  it  be 
for  some  external  respect,  though  the  love  be  real  in  its  kind,  yet  we 
have  our  own  ends  in  it ;  as  many  may  show  respect  to  the  people  of 
God  to  get  advantage  by  them.  Self-love  is  great  in  every  one  of  us, 
and  therefore  in  sincerity  to  love  the  brethren  is  a  very  difficult  thing ; 
most  have  their  ends  in  it,  and  make  a  market  of  their  religion.  Then 
it  is  brotherly  kindness  when  we  love  them  out  of  a  respect  to  their 
holiness,  or  because  of  the  image  of  God  in  them,  A  saint  is  to  be 
loved  as  a  saint,  and  a  disciple  as  a  disciple,  eo  nomine,  not  because 
learned,  potent,  opulent,  but  as  a  child  of  God ;  if  so,  a  quatemts  ad 
omne,  then  we  will  love  all  in  whom  we  see  anything  of  Christ.  Love 
will  cover  something  that  is  unlovely  in  them,  because  partakers  of  tlie 
same  grace,  and  look  for  salvation  by  the  same  Christ.  Surely  we  will 
love  them  whether  they  be  of  our  party  or  no ;  but  {sicut  se  liahet  sim- 
pliciter  ad  simpUciter,  ita  macjis  ad  magis)  the  more  godly,  the  more 
we  will  love  them.  Many  love  godliness  in  a  low  degree,  while  mingled 
with  imperfections, — the  impurity  is  a  part  of  the  reason  of  the  love, — 
whilst  a  very  strict  man  is  hated.  Well,  then,  tiiis  is  brotherly  love. 
By  this  brief  view  of  it  we  see  it  is  very  rare  to  be  found  amongst  chris- 
tians. Self-love  and  the  love  of  the  world  have  almost  destroyed  it ; 
and  where  it  is,  it  is  not  so  fervent  and  effectual  as  it  should  be.  In 
most  persons,  though  professed  christians,  we  either  find  no  love,  or  if 
any  be,  a  very  cold  one,  such  as  will  run  no  hazards  for  and  with  those 
whom  we  love. 

I  come  now  to  speak  of  the  other  branch,  charity,  or  love  to  all  men, 
for  it  must  not  confine  itself  to  fellow-christians  only,  but  be  diffused 
to  all  men,  though  they  be  not  heirs  of  the  same  grace  of  life.  In 
short — 

92  SERMONS  UrON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XVII. 

1.  This  love  is  either  amor  justitke,  which  consists  ia  justice  and 
righteousness.  We  are  not  to  wrong  them  or  defraud  them  of 
their  due,  but  so  deal  with  them  as  we  would  be  dealt  with  ourselves ; 
for  this  is  one  sort  and  kind  of  love  :  to  love  my  neighbour  as  myself, 
and  do  as  I  would  be  done  by,  are  equivalent  expressions :  Rom.  xiii. 
7,  8,  '  Render  to  every  one  their  due  ;  owe  no  man  anything,  but  to  love 
one  another.'  Again,  there  is  amor  compassionis,  we  must  not  hide 
ourselves  from  our  own  flesh,  Isa.  Iviii.  7  ;  we  must  be  affected  with 
their  misery,  both  by  reason  of  sin  and  affliction,  relieve  their  wants, 
seek  their  conversion,  and  promote  it  by  ourselves  and  others  by  all 
ways  and  means  possible.  This  we  owe  to  barbarians  and  wicked  ones, 
of  what  nation  soever  ;  though  we  hate  their  ways,  we  must  pity  their 

2.  From  this  love  enemies  and  persecutors  are  not  excepted :  Mat. 
V.  44,  '  Love  your  enemies,  bless  them  that  curse  you,  do  good  to  them 
that  hate  you,  and  pray  for  them  that  despitefully  use  you  and  perse- 
cute you.'  For  this  is  to  be  like  Grod,  who  is  kind  to  the  unthankful 
and  the  evil :  Luke  vi.  35,  '  But  love  your  enemies,  and  do  good,  and 
lend,  hoping  for  nothing  again  ;  and  your  reward  shall  be  great,  and 
ye  shall  be  the  children  of  the  highest ;  for  he  is  kind  unto  the  un- 
thankful, and  to  the  evil.' 

3.  The  fruits  of  this  love  are  not  only  seen  in  bestowing  temporal 
benefits,  but  to  the  uttermost  of  our  power  (because  they  are  capable  of 
eternal  blessedness)  making  it  our  unfeigned  desire  and  prayer  to  God, 
that  they  may  be  saved  :  Rom.  x.  1,  '  Brethren,  my  heart's  desire  and 
prayer  to  God  for  Israel  is,  that  they  may  be  saved.'  And  our  earnest 
endeavours  should  be  to  procure  their  spiritual  good  :  James  v.  19,  20, 
'  Brethren,  if  any  one  of  you  do  err  from  the  truth,  and  one  convert 
him,  let  him  know  that  he  which  converteth  a  sinner  from  the  error 
of  his  way  shall  save  a  soul  from  death,  and  hide  a  multitude  of  sins.' 

Secondly,  The  reasons. 

1.  Why  we  should  love  all  men.  The  reasons  that  may  induce  us 
are — 

[1.]  Equality,  the  actual  equality  of  all  men  by  nature,  who  were  all 
made  by  the  same  God,  and  all  made  of  one  blood.  Diversity  of  rank 
doth  not  take  away  identity  of  nature :  Mai.  ii.  10,  '  Have  we  not  all 
one  Father  ?  hath  not  one  God  created  us  ?  why  do  we  deal  treacher- 
ously every  man  against  his  brother  ? '  So  Job  xxxi.  13-15,  '  If  I  did 
despise  the  cause  of  my  man-servant,  or  of  my  maid-servant,  when  they 
contended  with  me :  what  then  shall  I  do  when  God  riseth  up  ?  and 
when  he  visiteth,  what  shall  I  answer  him  ?  Did  not  he  that  made 
me  in  the  womb,  make  him  ?  and  did  not  one  fashion  us  in  the  womb  ?  ' 
So  Neh.  V.  5,  '  Our  flesh  is  as  the  flesh  of  our  brethren,  and  their  chil- 
dren as  our  children.'  Why  is  more  due  to  you  than  them  ?  And  the 
possible  equality  of  all  men,  as  to  their  condition  and  state  of  life  :  Heb. 
xiii.  3,  '  Remember  them  that  are  in  bonds,  as  bound  with  them,  and 
them  which  suffer  adversity,  as  being  yourselves  in  the  body.'  Before 
we  go  out  of  the  body  there  may  be  strange  changes  in  the  world,  and 
God  may  make  us  as  low  as  others. 

[2.]  We  are  to  imitate  God,  as  children  do  their  father,  Mat.  v.  45. 
Now  God  loveth  all  his  creatures,  and  hateth  none  ;  the  more  we  imi- 

VeR.  11.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  93 

tate  God,  the  more  we  know  we  are  children  of  our  Father  Avhlch  is  in 

[3.]  God  hath  so  cast  the  world,  that  sometimes  we  need  the  help  ot 
others,  as  they  need  ours,  that,  by  mutual  necessities  and  a  combination 
of  interests,  the  world  may  be  upheld.  As  in  the  body  natural,  no 
member  can  say  to  any,  I  have  no  need  of  thee ;  so  also  hath  God  dis- 
posed it  in  the  great  frame  of  mankind,  that  we  may  have  a  mutual 
care  of  one  another,  1  Cor.  xii.  25.  As  he  requireth  from  every  man  a 
lespect  to  the  world  of  mankind,  so  he  hath  turned  all  the  respects  of 
the  world  of  mankind  upon  one  man.  We  would  be  glad  to  be  loved 
of  all  the  men  in  the  world,  if  we  could  bring  it  to  pass ;  and  surely 
we  may  the  better  expect  it  if  we  have  this  love  to  all  the  world. 

2.  Why  we  are  to  love  strangers :  Heb.  xiii.  2,  '  Be  not  forgetful  to 
entertain  strangers,  for  hereby  some  have  entertained  angels  unawares.' 
By  '  strangers '  he  meaneth  those  that  are  far  from  home,  in  another 
place  and  countr}',  where  they  have  few  friends,  and  are  not  well  known, 
especially  when  exiled  for  the  gospel.  We  find  this  in  Abraham's  and 
Lot's  instances,  who  were  kind  to  the  angels,  and  had  their  recompense. 
Abraham's  barren  wife  had  a  promise  of  bearing  a  son  to  him.  Lot 
had  benefit  also,  being  saved  from  the  flames  that  destroyed  Sodom. 
Surely  such  a  work  of  mercy  shall  not  go  unrewarded. 

3.  Why  enemies  ?  Partly  because  there  is  more  reason  to  love  them 
than  hate  them,  because  there  are  some  relics  of  God's  image  in  them ; 
and  God  hath  forgiven  us  greater  wrongs :  Eph.  iv.  32,  '  And  be  ye 
kind  one  to  another,  tender-hearted,  forgiving  one  another,  as  God  for 
Christ's  sake  hath  forgiven  you.'  We  commit  a  sin  against  God,  or 
else,  upon  the  apprehension  of  the  injury  done  us  by  man,  we  are 
deeper  in  danger  than  our  enemy  ;  we  daily  trespass  against  God  more 
than  they  can  trespass  against  us.  God  forgiveth  talents,  we  cannot 
forgive  pence  ;  God  forgiveth  a  hundred  thousand,  we  cannot  one  hun- 
dred, Mat.  xviii.  We  look  that  God  should  forgive  us,  and  we  will 
not  forgive  others.  In  short,  though  it  be  more  comfortable  to  love  a 
friend,  it  is  more  honourable  to  love  an  enemy  :  Prov.  xix.  11, '  It  is  the 
glory  of  a  man  to  pass  by  a  transgression.' 

II.  How  God  hath  recommended  it  to  our  obedience. 

1.  It  is  a  precept  and  a  commanded  duty,  and  not  bare  counsel  and 
advice  only.  There  is  a  great  deal  of  difference  between  allowing  and 
commanding;  where  a  thing  is  allowed,  licet,  it  may  be  done;  but 
where  a  thing  is  commanded,  oportet,  it  must  be  done,  a  necessity  is 
laid  upon  us  ;  and  therefore  none  must  look  upon  love  as  an  indifferent 
thing,  which  we  may  practise  or  forbear  at  our  own  pleasure.  No  ;  it 
is  a  debt  or  duty  by  virtue  of  Christ's  express  command,  a  duty  to 
Christ,  a  debt  that  we  owe  to  God  more  than  to  our  neighbour ;  we 
owe  love  to  them  as  our  fellow-creatures,  but  chiefly  ujwn  the  injunction 
of  our  Creator. 

2.  It  is  a  special  command  which  Christ  hath  adopted  into  his  new 
law.  Christ  calleth  it  his  new  commandment:  Jolm  xiii.  34,  'A  new 
commandment  I  give  unto  you,  that  ye  love  one  another.'  How  new, 
since  it  was  as  old  as  the  moral  law  or  the  law  of  nature  ?  Because  it 
was  so  solemnly  renewed  by  him,  and  commended  to  their  care.  Laws, 
when  new,  are  more  regarded  and  obeyed.    Christ  would  ratify  it  afresh. 


that  the  law  of  love  might  never  be  out  of  date,  but  be  looked  upon  as 
a  statute  in  force  and  newly  enacted,  and  fresh  in  the  remembrance  of 
his  people.  Or  a  new  commandment,  because  pressed  upon  a  new 
ground  and  pattern  :  before  it  was  '  Thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbour  as 
thyself ; '  now  it  is,  '  As  I  have  loved  you.'  The  great  love  of  Christ 
discovered  in  the  gospel  must  leave  a  suitable  impression  on  us.  He 
came  from  heaven  not  only  to  represent  the  holy  and  amiable  nature 
of  God,  but  to  propound  us  a  pattern  of  love  and  charity.  Once  more, 
the  scripture  is  impatient  of  being  denied  when  it  calleth  for  love  to 
the  brethren  ;  therefore  it  applieth  itself  to  our  dispositions  either  way. 
Some  prize  old  things,  others  new ;  therefore  it  telleth  us,  1  John  ii.  7, 
8,  '  I  write  no  new  commandment  to  you,  but  an  old  commandment, 
which  ye  had  from  the  beginning,'  Again,  'A  new  commandment  write 
I  unto  you  ; '  2  John  5,  '  Not  as  though  I  wrote  a  new  commandment 
unto  thee,  but  that  which  ye  had  from  the  beginning,  that  ye  love  one 
another.'  It  is  old  and  not  old,  new  and  not  new  ;  thus  it  plieth  us  on 
all  hands,  that  we  may  look  upon  ourselves  as  deeply  concerned. 
Some  novelty  is  suspected,  therefore  he  telleth  them  of  an  old  command- 
ment ;  it  is  the  same  which  was  commanded  in  the  law,  yet  solemnly 
reinforced  in  the  gospel.  There  are  some  commands  which  are  new 
and  not  old,  such  are  the  sacraments  of  the  new  testament ;  some  are 
old  and  not  new,  as  the  ceremonies  of  the  law  now  antiquated;  some  both 
old  and  new,  as  the  precepts  of  the  moral  law,  and  in  particular  this 
command  of  love,  which,  though  it  were  enjoined  before,  yet  it  is  revived 
by  Christ,  and  renewed  and  recommended  by  him  to  his  disciples  as  a 
chief  and  singular  duty. 

3.  It  is  his  dying  charge  :  John  xv.  12,  '  This  is  my  commandment, 
that  ye  love  one  another.'  He  appropriateth  it,  and  challengeth  it  as 
his  commandment,  which,  though  given  by  God  before,  yet  he  would 
make  his  own  by  an  express  charge  :  If  my  authority  be  of  any  force 
with  you,  do  not  entertain  it  with  a  careless  indifferency,  as  a  thing 
which  you  may  neglect  without  any  great  inconvenience.  The  season 
is  to  be  observed  when  those  things  were  spoken  by  Christ,  when  he 
was  departing  from  his  disciples,  and  preparing  them  for  his  departure. 
Speeches  of  dying  men  are  received  with  much  reverence,  especially  the 
charge  of  dying  friends.  The  brethren  of  Joseph,  fearing  he  should 
remember  old  injuries,  came  to  him  with  this  plea,  Gen.  1.  16,  'Thy 
father  did  command  us  before  he  died,  saying,'  Let  us  fulfil  the  will 
of  the  dead.  Our  Lord  commanded  us  when  he  died,  saying,  '  Love 
one  another.'  Christ  foresaw  how  his  disciples  would  quarrel  in  their 
Master's  absence,  how  his  work  would  thereby  be  interrupted,  and 
tlieir  own  peace ;  how  his  religion  would  be  exposed  to  reproach  and 
obloquy  by  the  contention  of  his  followers;  therefore  he  left  this 
charge,  '  See  that  ye  love  one  another,' 

4.  It  is  a  comprehensive  command  ;  for  to  love  one  another  implieth 
all  those  things  which  concern  our  duty  to  our  neighbour  ■  John  xv. 
17,  '  These  things  I  command  you,  that  ye  love  one  another.'  These 
things,  and  yet  but  one  thing  pressed,  and  that  is  to  love  each  other. 
But  love  containeth  many  duties  in  the  bosom  of  it:  Gal.  v.  14,  'All 
the  law  is  fulfilled  in  one  word.  Thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbour  as 
thyself.'     How  is  that  to  be  understood  ?     There  are  other  precepts 

VeR.  11.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  95 

besides  this ;  tlieve  are  respects  of  love  due  to  God,  and  there  is  justice 
due  to  our  neighbour,  as  well  as  love.  But  love  Grod,  and  we  love  our 
neighbour  for  God's  sake ;  and  the  acts  of  justice  which  we  perform  to 
them  are  the  fruits  and  products  of  love,  and  must  flow  from  love ; 
yea,  the  acts  of  charity,  how  pompous  and  plausible  soever  they  be, 
yet  if  love  be  not  at  the  bottom,  they  are  not  right :  1  Cor.  xiii.  1-3, 
'  Though  I  speak  with  the  tongue  of  men  and  angels,  and  have  not 
charity,  I  am  become  as  a  sounding  brass,  and  a  tinkling  cymbal. 
And  though  I  have  the  gift  of  prophecy,  and  understood  all  mysteries 
and  all  knowledge ;  and  though  I  have  all  faith,  so  that  I  could 
remove  mountains,  and  have  no  charity,  I  am  nothing.  And  though 
I  bestow  all  my  goods  to  feed  the  poor,  and  though  I  give  my  body  to 
be  burned,  and  have  not  charity,  it  profiteth  me  nothing.'  So  that  all 
the  law  is  fulfilled  in  this  one  word.  Therefore  love  is  called  the  ful- 
filling of  the  law,  Kom.  xiii.  8. 

5.  It  is  a  duty  that  fitteth  us  to  partake  of  the  blessing  which  God 
hath  commanded  for  his  people  when  united  :  Ps.  cxxxiii.  1-3,  'Behold 
how  good  and  how  pleasant  it  is  for  brethren  to  dwell  together  in  unity. 
It  is  like  the  precious  ointment  upon  Aaron's  head,  that  ran  down  upon 
the  beard,  that  went  down  to  the  skirt  of  his  garment ;  as  the  dew  of 
Hermon,  and  the  dew  that  descendeth  upon  the  mountains  of  Zion ; 
for  there  the  Lord  commanded  the  blessing,  even  life  for  evermore.' 
This  holy  concord  is  a  blessing  both  pleasant  and  profitable.  God 
delighteth  to  pour  out  his  graces  on  such  a  society  :  Mat  xviii.  19,  '  I 
say  unto  you,  If  two  of  you  shall  agree  on  earth  touching  anything  they 
shall  ask,  it  shall  be  done  for  them  of  my  Father  which  is  in  heaven.' 
God  will  not  hear  one  sort  of  his  children  against  another ;  it  is  like 
'the  precious  ointment  upon  the  head,  that  ran  down  upon  the  beard, 
even  Aaron's  beard,  that  went  down  to  the  skirt  of  his  garment.' 
There  the  pleasantness  is  described  by  the  fragrancy  of  the  holy  oint- 
ment wherewith  Aaron  and  his  sons  were  anointed  ;  it  is  often  called 
the  oil  of  gladness,  because  it  cheered  the  spirits  of  the  chief  priests, 
and  all  that  were  present  in  the  temple.  The  profit  of  it,  ver.  3,  'As 
the  dew  of  Hermon,  and  as  the  dew  that  descended  upon  the  moun- 
tains of  Zion  ;  for  there  the  Lord  commanded  the  blessing,  even  life 
lor  evei'more.'  It  is  as  the  dew  which  moistens  the  earth,  which  was 
a  great  blessing  in  those  hot  countries,  and  caused  the  fields  to  laugh 
with  fatness ;  he  mentioned  Mount  Hermon  and  Mount  Zion, 
Hermon  was  a  fat  and  fruitful  place  ;  it  is  usually  put  among  the  fair 
and  pleasant  pastures.  There  is  the  blessing ;  they  have  most  com- 
munion with  God  who  have  most  communion  with  one  another,  and 
all  this  is  in  order  to  eternal  life. 

6.  This  is  a  duty  that  doth  most  discover  the  temper  of  our  religion, 
which  is  wholly  made  up  of  love.  It  is  a  God  of  love  that  we  serve,  and 
they  have  no  acquaintance  with  him  that  love  not  their  brethren  : 
1  John  iv.  7,  8,  '  Let  us  love  one  another,  for  love  is  of  God ;  and 
every  one  that  loveth  is  born  of  God,  and  knoweth  God.  He  that 
loveth  not,  knoweth  not  God  ;  for  God  is  love.'  Again,  1  John  iv.  16, 
'  God  is  love,  and  he  that  dwelleth  in  love  dwelleth  in  God,  and  God 
in  him.'  Redemption  by  Christ,  which  is  the  great  mystery  of  the 
christian  religion,  the  most  conspicuous  end  was  the  demonstration  of 


God's  love:  John  iii.  16,  'God  so  loved  tlie  world,  that  he  gave  his 
only-hegotten  Son.'  So  1  John  iii.  16,  '  Hereby  perceive  we  the  love 
of  God,  that  he  laid  down  his  life  for  us.'  What  is  this  mystery  of  re- 
demption but  a  wonder  of  love  ?  It  was  love  stepped  in,  and  recovered 
us  out  of  that  destruction  and  ruin  wherein  we  had  involved  ourselves. 
What  was  the  Son  of  God  but  love  incarnate,  love  coming  down  from 
lieaven  to  earth,  to  die  for  a  sinful  world  ?  Now  why  was  all  this 
made  known  unto  us  ?  Only  to  talk  of,  or  comfort  ourselves  Avithal  ? 
No  ;  that  we  might  imitate  it,  that  the  true  stamp  and  impression  of 
our  religion  may  be  upon  our  hearts :  Eph.  v.  2,  '  Walk  in  love,  as 
Christ  also  hath  loved  us  ; '  1  John  iv.  11,  'If  God  so  loved  us,  we 
ought  also  to  love  one  another.'  He  that  seetli  the  true  face  of  redemp- 
tion, and  understandeth  the  gospel  and  the  grace  of  Christ,  will  easily 
be  induced  to  see  the  reasonableness  of  such  a  duty.  And  what  is  the 
work  of  the  Holy  Ghost  but  to  shed  abroad  this  love  in  our  hearts  ? 
Rom.  V.  5  ;  the  intent  of  the  ordinances,  but  to  represent  this  love  and 
seal  up  this  love  ?  So  that  we  do  express  the  true  genius  of  our 
religion  by  love. 

ilse.  The  use  is  to  show  us  the  excellency,  and  amiableness,  and 
beautifulness  of  the  christian  religion  in  both  these  regards,  as  it 
requireth  brotherly  kindness  and  charity.  Brotherly  kindness  or  com- 
munion of  saints  :  some  things  are  pleasant  and  not  profitable,  as  vain 
delights  ;  some  things  are  profitable  and  not  pleasant,  as  afiiictions  and 
the  sorrows  of  repentance ;  some  things  neither  profitable  nor  pleasant, 
as  hatred,  variance,  strife  ;  some  things  pleasant  and  profitable,  as  the 
concord  of  God's  people.  Man  is  a  sociable  creature,  and  religion  doth 
mightily  befriend  human  societies ;  for  besides  that  brotherly  kindness, 
that  it  requireth  to  be  exercised  among  christians  themselves,  it  re- 
quireth also  love  to  all  men,  not  only  forbidding  injustice  to  the  names 
and  persons  of  others,  but  uncharitableness,  and  those  oppressions  and 
injuries  wherewith  the  world  aboundeth.  These  things  would  be 
banished  if  men  would  be  but  true  to  this  religion,  and  love  their 
neighbour  as  themselves.  It  commands  universal  love  and  kindness 
among  men,  a  readiness  to  forgive  our  greatest  enemies.  How  easily 
would  men  be  induced  to  pardon  wrongs !  how  patiently  would  they 
bear  a  modest  dissent,  where  in  this  state  of  frailty  all  men  cannot 
force  their  judgments  to  be  of  another  mould  and  size  !  How  far  would 
men  be  from  doing  hurt  to  one  another,  hurt  no  man,  speak  evil  of  no 
man !  Yea,  how  beneficial  and  helpful  would  men  be  to  one  another, 
seeking  others'  good  as  their  own,  affeeted  with  one  another's  welfare  as 
their  own,  and  rejoicing  in  it !  Oh,  that  the  world  would  consider  how 
much  of  Christianity  consists  in  love  and  doing  good  !  Without  that 
there  is  nothing  so  fierce,  so  bad,  so  cruel,  which  you  may  not  be 
drawn  to  think,  say,  or  do  against  your  brother.  The  world  is  pre- 
iudiced  against  religion  as  an  ill-natured  thing,  but  there  is  no  ground 
for  such  a  prejudice,  when  we  consider  the  christian  religion  requireth 
nothing  but  what  is  most  fit  for  God  to  command,  and  most  reasonable 
for  man  to  obey. 

VeR.  12.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  ^  97 


Not  as  Cain,  loho  loas  of  that  luickecl  one,  and  sleio  his  brother.  And 
loherefore  sleiv  he  him  f  Because  his  own  ivorks  taere  evil,  and 
his  brothers  righteous. — 1  John  iii.  12. 

The  apostle  having  urged  the  precept  of  brotherly  love,  now  speaketh 
of  the  contrary,  which  is  hatred  to  the  power  of  godliness,  and  of  this 
by  way  of  instance  and  example.     This  instance  is  fitly  chosen — 

1.  As  being  a  most  eminent  example,  or  an  early  discovery  of  the 
malignity  of  corrupt  nature.  Therefore  Tertullian  calleth  Cain  the 
patriarch  of  unbelievers.  Enmity  to  religion  began  betimes,  and  the 
world  keepeth  its  old  wont,  then,  and  now,  and  ever.  Those  that  will 
live  godly  in  Christ  Jesus  must  expect  troubles,  2  Tim,  iii.  12. 

2.  As  best  to  represent  the  tragical  effects  of  envy  and  hatred. 
When  once  brotherly  love  faileth,  there  is  nothing  so  bad  and  cruel 
which  you  may  not  be  drawn  to  do  against  your  brethren  ;  for  corrupt 
nature  is  cruelly  bent  against  all  that  stand  in  the  way  of  our  esteem 
and  desires.  When  once  a  brother  is  represented  as  an  enemy,  if  it 
be  in  the  power  of  our  hands,  what  will  we  think  unlawful  to  be  acted 
against  him  ?  If  malice  be  curbed  and  restrained,  we  seek  to  draw 
those  in  with  us  who  have  power  to  serve  our  private  quarrels  and 
]'evenges  ;  and  hatred  given  way  to  will  not  be  slaked  without  blood 
and  ruin. 

3.  It  showeth  that  devouring  malice  is  the  true  devilish  nature: 
'Not  as  Cain,  who  was  of  that  wicked  one.'  It  was  one  of  OEcolampa- 
dius'  observations  in  a  sermon  to  the  children  of  ]5asil,  that  the 
ordinary  pictures  of  God  and  Satan  were  in  good  books  for  the  instruc- 
tion of  children  either  in  the  nature  of  God  or  Satan.  The  truest  re- 
presentation that  can  be  made  of  God  to  children  should  be  to  teach 
them  what  truth  is,  what  mercy  is,  what  love  is,  what  goodness  is,  for 
this  is  God  ;  and  the  best  picture  that  can  be  taken  of  Satan  would 
be  the  true  characters  of  malice,  falsehood,  envy,  and  hatred.  God  is 
love,  God  is  mercy,  God  is  goodness  ;  but  falsehood,  envy,  and  hatred, 
and  cruelty  are  natural  to  the  old  serpent :  '  Not  as  Cain,  who  was  of 
that  wicked  one,  and  slew  his  brother.' 

In  the  words  observe — (1.)  Cain's  fact ;  (2.)  The  reason  of  it. 

1.  His  fact,  '  He  slew  his  brother.' 

2.  The  reason.  In  this  latter,  one  reason  is  expressed,  viz.,  contra- 
riety of  practice  ;  acerbissima  sunt  odia  ex  diversitate  morum.  The 
other  implied  envy  at  God's  favour  to  him,  for  envy  soon  runneth  into 

First  reason.  Abel  is  seldom  spoken  of  in  scripture,  but  he  is  hon- 
oured with  the  title  of  righteous  :  Mat.  xxiii.  33,  '  From  the  blood  of 
righteous  Abel.'  So  Heb.  xi.  4,  *  By  which  he  obtained  witness  that 
he  was  righteous.' 

Second  reason.  Envy  at  God's  favour :  Gen.  iv.  4,  '  God  had  re- 
spect to  Abel  and  his  offering.'  It  must  be  known  by  some  visible 
token,  for  thereupon  Cain's  countenance  fell,  and  in  his  wrath  and  envy 
he  slow  his  brother.     Some  say,  as  Claudius  MariuS;  that  the  smoke  of 

VOL.  XXI.  G 


Cain's  sacrifice  went  downward  to  the  earth,  and  Abel's  upward  to 
heaven  ;  others  say  other  things,  but  without  any  clear  warrant.  Pro- 
bably the  sign  was  fire  coming  down  from  heaven,  and  consuming  Abel's 
sacrifice  to  ashes.  The  apostle  tellethus,  '  God  testified  of  his  gifts,'  Heb. 
xi.  4.  Theodosius  saith,  Surely  this  was  the  sign  of  God's  favourable 
acceptation  afterwards :  Ps.  xx.  3,  '  The  Lord  accept  thy  burnt-offer- 
ings ; '  in  the  margin  it  is, '  turn  to  ashes.'  So  Lev,  ix.  24,  *  At  Aaron's 
sacrifice  there  came  a  fire  out  from  the  Lord,  and  consumed  the  burnt- 
offering,  and  the  fat'  So  in  Elijah's  contest  with  Baal's  priests :  1 
Kings  xviii.  38,  '  Then  the  fire  of  the  Lord  fell,  and  consumed  the 
burnt-sacrifice,  and  the  wood,  and  the  stones,  and  the  dust,  and  licked 
up  the  water  that  was  in  the  trencL'  So  in  Gideon's  sacrifice  :  Judges 
vi.  21, '  And  there  rose  up  a  fire  out  of  the  rock,  and  consumed  the  flesh.' 
So  Manoah's  sacrifice  :  Judges  xiii.  20,  '  The  flame  went  up  towards 
heaven,  and  the  angel  ascended  in  the  flame.'  So  1  Chron.  xxi.  26, 
'  The  Lord  answered  Pavid  by  fire  from  heaven  on  the  burnt-offering.' 
Doct.  That  there  is  such  a  sin  as  antipathy  against  the  power  of 
godliness,  or  a  hatred  of  others  because  of  their  strictness  in  the  service 
of  God,  and  diligence  in  heavenly  things. 

1.  I  shall  give  you  instances  of  this  in  the  word  of  God. 

2.  Some  discoveries  of  this  malignity. 

3.  The  reasons  of  it. 

I.  Instances  of  it  from  scripture.  The  world's  hatred  is  disguised 
under  other  pretences.  Now  what  doth  the  word  of  God  say  ?  The 
word  of  God  doth  tell  us  doctrinally  that  it  is  so,  and  giveth  instances 
and  examples  of  it. 

1.  Doctrinally  that  it  is  so :  let  us  take  notice  of  that  place  which 
describeth  the  first  rise  of  it :  Gen.  iii.  15,  '  I  will  put  enmity  between 
thee  and  the  woman,  and  between  thy  seed  and  her  seed.'  There  is  a 
natural  enmity  between  the  two  seeds,  as  there  is  between  a  wolf  and 
a  lamb. 

2.  By  way  of  instance  and  example,  to  see  how  this  spirit  of  enmity 
hath  been  working,  and  how  the  men  of  God  have  had  bitter  experi- 
ence of  it.  Thus  Abel  was  slain  by  Cain  ;  Isaac  was  scoffed  at  by 
Ishmael ;  and  Jacob  was  driven  out  of  his  father's  house  by  his  brother 

II.  Discoveries  that  this  hatred  that  is  commenced  against  the  people 
of  God  ariseth  from  an  antipathy  to  godliness,  though  wicked  men  will 
not  own  it  to  be  such.  But  to  remove  cavils,  let  us  see  how  it  ap- 
peareth  that  this  hatred  is  the  effect  ©f  their  abhorrence  of  that  which 
is  good  and  holy. 

1.  This  is  some  discovery  of  it,  because  the  servants  of  God  have 
been  hated  most,  and  troubled  by  the  worst  of  men. 

2.  Because  the  best  men,  who  have  the  least  allay  of  corruption,  and 
are  most  eminent  for  strict  and  exemplary  conversations,  are  most  hated 
and  maligned. 

3.  Because  when  religion  is  accompanied  with  other  things,  that  a 
man  would  think  should  assuage  malice  and  allay  the  heat  and  rage  of 
men  against  them,  yet  it  eecapeth  not.  Thus  godly  meek  men,  that 
are  guilty  of  nothing  but  worshipping  God  in  sincerity,  and  desiring  to 
go  to  heaven  with  all  their  hearts,  are  most  persecuted  in  this  world. 

VeR.  12.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  99 

4.  It  appeareth  by  their  inventing  of  lies  and  ridiculous  crimes  to 
palliate  their  hatred ;  as  against  the  primitive  christians,  their  wor- 
shipping an  ass's  head,  their  drinking  the  blood  of  a  child  in  their 

5.  Because  if  a  man  be  strict,  mortified,  sober  of  life  and  behaviour, 
the  world  is  apt  to  judge  him  one  of  such  a  hated  party  ;  as  if  any 
named  the  name  of  God  with  reverence,  they  suspected  them  for  here- 
tics if  they  said,  '  If  the  Lord  will' 

6.  The  consciences  of  wicked  men  are  a  thousand  witnesses. 

7.  It  appeareth  by  the  joy  that  wicked  men  take  when  they  have 
anything  offered  to  justify  their  opposition,  as  the  scandal  of  any  that 
profess  the  ways  of  God. 

III.  Having  given  the  instances  of  the  world's  hatred,  I  come  to  the 

1.  The  difference  and  estrangement  in  course  of  life  is  a  provoking 
thing ;  therefore  men  that  live  in  any  sinful  course  are  loath  that  any 
should  part  company  with  them. 

2.  This  is  not  all ;  it  is  not  only  a  difference,  but  a  difference  about 
religion  ;  and  usually  hatreds  that  arise  from  difference  in  religion  are 
very  deadly. 

3.  It  is  not  only  difference  about  religion,  but  between  the  true 
religion  and  the  false. 

But  why  is  there  such  a  spite  and  enmity  at  the  sincere  and  serious 
profession  of  the  true  religion  ?     I  answer — 

[1.]  The  devil's  instigation  is  one  cause ;  he  hath  great  rage  against 
the  snints. 

[2.]  On  man's  part  there  seemeth  to  be  a  double  reason — pride  and 

(1.)  Pride,  which  is  impatient  of  reproof. 

(2.)  Envy  at  God's  favour  bestowed  on  them.^ 

Use  1.  Is  to  press  us  to  avoid  this  sin  and  snare  of  death,  especially 
in  these  times  of  dissension.  Whatever  party  and  sort  of  christians 
you  stick  unto,  be  not  drawn  to  hatred  against  the  power  of  godliness. 
We  are  told  that  in  the  latter  times  men  shall  be  despisers  of  those 
who  are  good,  2  Tim.  iii.  3,  not-lovers,  or  haters,  as  the  word  signifieth. 
It  is  a  more  common  sin  than  we  are  aware  of.  Indeed  this  spirit  of 
enmity  and  malignity  walketh  under  a  disguise,  seeketh  other  pretences 
wherewith  to  mask  itself.  But  the  children  of  God  should  beware  of 
it,  lest  the  sheep  act  the  wolves'  part,  and  cry  up  a  confederacy  with 
the  wicked  world  in  their  spite  against  others  of  God's  children.  Now 
that  we  may  avoid  this  snare,  I  will  represent — (1.)  The  commonness 
of  the  sin  ;  (2.)  The  heinousness  of  it ;  (3.)  Some  remedies  against  it. 

First,  The  commonness  of  the  sin. 

It  appeareth  by  this,  that  the  scripture  everywhere  divides  all  the 
world  into  two  ranks — the  godly  and  the  ungodly,  the  converted  and 
unconverted,  the  unsanctified  and  sanctified,  tlie  carnal  and  spiritual, 
the  earthly-minded  and  the  heavenly-minded,  the  children  of  God  and 
the  children  of  the  devil ;  and  Christ  will  at  last  divide  all  the  world 
into  sheep  and  goats.     Thus  standeth  the  case,  not  only  between  the 

^  See  this  subject  largely  handled  in  the  author's  sermons  on  the  17th  of  John,  in 
Volume  X.  of  this  edition. — Ed. 


cliurcli  and  the  world,  but  within  the  church,  between  the  serious  and 
profane,  the  real  and  nominal  christians  ;  though  they  have  the  same 
bible,  creed,  and  baptism,  yet  they  hate  one  another,  malign  one  another. 
It  must  needs  be  so,  for  otherwise  these  things  are  said  in  vain,  for  the 
scriptures  are  not  written  to  infidels.  Therefore  it  concerneth  us  to 
look  to  ourselves,  our  own  soundness  and  sincerity  with  Christ.  If  we 
engage  in  the  differences  and  espouse  quarrels  before  we  are  gained  to 
Christ,  take  heed  the  quarrel  be  not  rather  against  the  life  and  practice 
of  religion  than  a  pure  zeal  for  the  truth  ;  and  that  we  do  not  reproach 
those  for  heretics  and  schismatics  that  are  more  diligent  and  serious 
in  God's  service  than  ourselves  ;  for  the  zeal  of  the  carnal  is  always  to 
be  suspected.  First  plant  the  fear  of  God,  and  then  men  will  best  own 
the  cause  of  God.  Certainly  it  is  usual  for  the  formal  to  hate  the 
serious,  and  the  christian  in  the  letter  to  despise  him  who  is  so  in  the 
spirit.  An  outward,  superficial,  apocryphal,  bastard  holiness  fiUeth  us 
with  this  hatred,  Cain  had  his  sacrifice  as  well  as  Abel,  but  Abel 
goeth  thoroughly  to  work,  and  was  accepted,  which  Cain  doth  not,  and 
therefore  hateth  and  killeth  him :  Isa.  Ixvi,  5,  '  Your  brethren  that 
hate  you,  and  cast  you  out  for  my  name's  sake,  said,  Let  God  be  glori- 
fied.' Men  that  are  brethren,  that  profess  the  same  religion,  yet  being 
loose  and  false  in  it,  may  hate  others  that  are  strict  and  true  ;  as  it  is 
said  in  the  Revelations,  they  pushed  with  the  horns  of  the  lamb. 
Therefore  it  concerneth  us  to  consider — 

1.  What  is  our  state,  what  is  the  ground  of  our  quarrel,  what  are 
the  ends  and  motives  in  all  contests  that  we  have  with  others. 

2.  If  the  cause  of  the  quarrel  be  never  so  good  and  just,  yet  it  may 
be  carried  on  with  too  great  heat  and  animosity  against  godly  brethren  ; 
bitter  zeal  argueth  some  breach  made  upon  brotherly  love  :  James  iii. 
14,  '  If  ye  have  bitter  envying  and  strife  in  your  hearts,  glory  not,  and 
lie  not  against  the  truth.'  Those  that  have  this  bitter  contention,  or 
feverish  kind  of  zeal,  have  seldom  a  true  zeal  for  God,  but  a  partiality 
to  their  own  interests,  if  not  a  hatred  against  their  brethren.  It  is  a 
spirit  of  carnal  envy  against  the  credit  and  reputation  of  others,  a 
kitchen,  not  a  celestial  fire ;  and  though  it  be  not  downright  mis- 
chievous hatred,  yet  it  is  a  great  unkindness,  as  Job  was  too  deeply 
censured  by  his  godly  friends. 

3.  There  may  be  a  secret  rising  of  heart  and  envy  against  the  purity 
and  strictness  of  others,  even  by  some  of  those  who  are  right  for  the 
main  themselves.  It  should  promote  holy  emulation  and  imitation  ; 
so  the  apostle  saith,  '  Your  zeal  hath^provoked  many,'  1  Cor.  ix.  2,  and 
Heb.  X.  24,  '  Let  us  provoke  one  another  to  love  and  good  works.' 
But  many  times  it  draweth  envy,  and  then  natural  malignity  beginneth 
to  work.  You  had  need  to  suppress  it  betimes,  for  lusts  stirred  will 
grow  more  tumultuous.  One  eminently  godly  man  may  reprove  the 
conscience  of  another  by  his  life  ;  they  cannot  look  upon  it  without 
some  shame  and  check  :  it  should  stir  in  us  only  a  holy  emulation,  not 
a  carnal  envy. 

4.  In  opposing  those  that  are  godly,  you  had  need  be  tender,  that 
you  go  upon  sure  grounds,  and  that  your  opposition  proceedeth  not  to 
mischievous  violence :  Mat.  xviii.  6,  '  He  that  offendeth  one  of  these 
little  ones  which  believe  in  me,  it  were  better  for  him  that  a  millstone 

VeR.  12.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  101 

were  hanged  about  his  neck,  and  that  he  were  drowned  in  the  depth  of 
the  sea.'  As  was  said  concerning  Paul,  '  Take  heed  what  you  do,  for 
this  man  is  a  Roman.'  Men  that  know  the  danger  will  not  easily  kick 
against  the  pricks,  at  least  do  not  join  with  the  opposite:  'Eat  and 
drink  with  the  drunken,  and  beat  your  fellow-servants,'  Mat.  xxiv.  49  ; 
and  cry  up  a  confederacy  with  wicked  men  to  promote  your  private 
differences  with  more  advantage  ;  there  may  be  much  of  the  hatred  of 
godliness  in  it.  The  devil  will  be  a  defender  of  the  truth  and  church 
with  a  bloody  and  killing  zeal,  so  the  soundest  and  holiest  members 
be  destroyed  ;  those  go  in  the  way  of  Cain,  Jude  11,  if  slaughters  and 
massacres  will  do,  and  so  think  they  serve  God  by  murdering  his 
servants,  John  xvi.  2. 

5.  If  you  be  glad  when  you  find  any  blemish  to  eclipse  the  lustre 
and  glory  of  their  innocency,  this  argueth  a  secret  hatred  to  them  as 
godly :  '  Charity  rejoiceth  not  in  iniquity,  but  rejoiceth  in  the  truth,* 
1  Cor.  xiii.  6  ;  and  Phil.  iii.  18,  '  For  many  walk,  of  whom  I  have  told 
you  often,  and  now  tell  you  even  weeping,  they  are  enemies  to  the  cross 
of  Christ.'  They  were  not  real  christians,  but  enemies  to  the  cross  of 
Christ.  You  are  glad  at  the  miscarriages  of  some,  and  those  few  are 
cast  upon  all. 

Secondly,  The  heinousness  and  greatness  of  the  sin. 

1.  A  malicious  opposing  of  those  that  are  good,  and  do  belong  to 
God,  under  that  consideration,  bordereth  near  to  the  great  transgression, 
Avhich  is  a  malicious  desertion  or  opposition  of  the  truth  after  sufficient 
conviction  ;  it  is  not  it,  but  it  cometh  near  to  it  in  the  height  of  it. 

2.  Eeligion  is  a  commendation  of  kindness  on  the  one  side,  so  it  is 
an  aggravation  of  malice  on  the  other  :  Mat.  x.  40,  '  Whosoever  shall 
give  to  drink  to  one  of  these  little  ones,  a  cup  of  cold  water  only,  in 
the  name  of  a  disciple,  he  shall  not  lose  his  reward.'  Therefore  to 
hate  men  for  their  godliness  is  a  provoking  sin. 

3.  It  is  a  mark  of  a  child  of  the  devil,  the  express  image  of  Satan. 
Thereby  our  Saviour  convinced  the  Jews  to  be  of  their  father  the  devil, 
because  they  hated  him  that  came  from  God,  John  viii.  40.  You 
express  Satan's  image  to  the  life  when  this  is  the  ground  of  hatred. 

4.  When  you  have  no  other  quarrel  against  them  but  their  goodness, 
that  which  should  be  the  cause  of  the  greatest  love  is  the  cause  of  the 
greatest  hatred ;  and  so  God  himself  is  despised  when  his  image  is 
despised  and  the  devil's  had  in  reverence  and  honour. 

5.  This  sin  is  the  greater  because  of  the  many  blessings  we  enjoy  by 
them ;  they  are  the  honour  and  blessing  of  a  country.  Elijah,  that 
was  counted  the  troubler  of  Israel,  yet  is  by  the  prophet  called  the 
chariots  and  horsemen  of  Israel,  2  Kings  ii.  12,  that  is,  the  defence  of 
the  country.  When  such  are  gone,  it  is  the  worse  for  any  people : 
Gen.  xix.  22,  '  I  cannot  do  anything  till  thou  art  gone  thither; '  Acts 
xxvii.  24, '  And  I  have  given  thee  the  lives  of  all  that  sail  with  thee  in 
the  ship.' 

Thii-dly,  The  means  to  avoid  it. 

1.  Keep  up  the  love  of  all  men.  He  is  not  godly  that  loveth  not  all 
men  with  the  love  common  to  Christianity,  and  tiiose  that  fear  God 
with  a  8[)eciiil  love;  the  one  is  the  preservative  from  dashing  against 
the  other.     Free  the  mind  from  malice,  and  you  will  free  it  from 

102  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.         [SeR.  XIX. 

hatred  to  the  power  of  godliness,  for  malice  blindeth  men  that  they 
cannot  see  the  good  in  those  they  hate.  You  are  at  the  greatest  dis- 
tance from  this  yin  when  you  take  heed  of  the  hatred  of  any  man. 
We  should  love  all  with  the  love  of  good-will,  though  our  delight 
should  be  in  the  excellent  ones  of  the  earth.  Live  in  enmity  and 
malice  with  none,  though  you  take  just  offence  at  their  sins.  Lot's 
righteous  soul  was  vexed  from  day  to  day,  2  Peter  ii.  8,  yet  he  lived 
peaceably  in  Sodom.  They  are  an  abomination  for  caution  to  ourselves, 
but  not  with  a  mischievous  hatred. 

2.  Take  heed  of  an  uncharitable  impropriating  of  Christ ;  this  is  the 
readiest  way  to  confine  your  love,  and  hate  all  the  world  besides ;  but 
love  the  gifts  and  graces  of  God  in  any  party  and  sort  of  men,  for 
God's  interest  lieth  not  in  one  party ;  do  not  therefore  impale  the 
common  salvation,  'theirs  and  ours,'  1  Cor.  i.  2.  If  God  hath  received 
him,  though  weak,  we  should  own  him.  The  devil  hath  a  great  hand 
over  those  that  enclose  all  religion  within  the  lines  of  their  communion, 
either  because  their  party  is  the  best,  or  greatest,  or  uppermost,  or 
chief  in  the  house,  city,  or  kingdom  ;  they  are  all  the  church.  Alas ! 
often  it  is  so,  but  God  will  not  reckon  his  children  by  the  opinion  of 
an  angry  brother. 

3.  Do  not  think  evil  of  any  without  constraining  evidence,  for  '  charity 
thinketh  no  evil,'  1  Cor.  xiii.  5,  6.  Charity  doth  not  force  and  wrest 
things  by  a  strained  interpretation.  For  our  caution,  if  they  be  as  bad 
as  malice  can  imagine,  and  you  certainly  know  any  fault  by  them, 
take  warning  to  avoid  it ;  and  consider  what  need  there  is  of  watch- 
fulness, when  they  that  set  their  faces  heavenward  do  so  fall  and 
stumble  in  their  way  thither  ;  and  see  what  need  you  and  others  have 
to  be  better.  This  is  to  improve  the  failings  of  others,  not  to  censure 

4.  Cherish  those  that  invite  you  to  love,  as  messengers  from  the  God 
of  love:  '  For  this  is  the  message  we  have  from  the  beginning,'  But 
those  censurers,  backbiters,  and  slanderers,  that  make  the  worst  of  other 
men's  actions,  look  upon  as  Satan's  messengers  inviting  you  to  hate 
your  brother,  as  if  they  said,  I  pray  hate  such  a  one ;  for  he  that 
speaketh  evil  of  another  without  a  just  cause  and  call  doth  but  entice 
you  to  hatred  and  mischief,  at  least  to  abate  your  love ;  for  to  per- 
suade you  another  is  bad  is  to  persuade  you  to  hate  him. 


Marvel  not,  my  brethren,  if  the  luorld  hate  you. — 1  John  iii.  13. 

In  these  wokIs  you  have  an  application  of  the  instance  of  Cain — (1.) 
For  the  support  of  present  believers  ;  (2.)  As  a  new  motive  to  brotherly 

1.  For  the  support  of  present  believers.     The  world  is  of  the  same 
spirit  that  Cain  was;  he  envied  his  brother  and  slew  him,  to  presignify 

VeK.  13.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  103 

to  tbe  world  what  the  corrupt  nature  of  man  would  prove,  and  how 
opposite  the  carnal  and  wicked  would  be  to  the  sanctified ;  what  the 
holy  seed,  who  are  accepted  of  God,  must  look  for  in  the  world,  and 
patiently  endure  for  the  hope  of  an  everlasting  blessedness  with  God. 
The  world  was  of  the  same  spirit  that  Cain  was  ;  and  if  we  be  up- 
right, the  same  causes  of  hatred  do  continue  still. 

2.  As  a  new  motive  to  brotherly  love.  The  children  of  God  should 
love  one  another  the  more  fervently,  because  they  are  all  exposed  to 
the  hatred  of  the  world.  The  same  connection  you  may  observe,  John 
XV.  17,  18,  '  These  things  I  command  you,  that  you  love  one  another. 
If  the  world  hate  you,  you  know  it  hated  me  before  it  hated  you.'  The 
world's  hatred  to  believers  is  a  strong  argument  to  persuade  them  to 
love  one  another.  You  are  sure  to  meet  with  hatred  from  them,  and 
therefore  you  must  be  more  careful  to  maintain  mutual  love  between 
one  another.  Usually  when  love  decayeth,  God  doth  enkindle  and 
blow  it  up  by  the  storms  of  persecution.  Eusebius  said  that  before  the 
tenth  persecution  the  church  was  rent  and  torn  by  intestine  broils, 
pastors  against  pastors,  and  people  against  people.  Ease  and  pride 
beget  wantonness,  and  that  maketh  way  for  contention.  We  warp 
like  green  timber  in  the  sunshine,  and  rend  from  one  another  ;  the  dog 
is  let  loose  that  the  sheep  may  run  together.  Nazianzen  was  wont  to 
call  the  enemies  of  the  church  the  common  reconcilers :  it  is  well  when 
it  proveth  so.     To  this  end  is  this  spoken. 

Doct.  That  there  is  no  cause  of  perplexing  wonder  at  the  world's 

For  distinctness  we  will  put  it  in  two  propositions. 

1.  That  the  world  hatetli  God's  children. 

2.  That  when  we  feel  the  effects  of  it,  we  should  not  marvel  at  this 

For  the  first  point,  we  shall  handle  four  things,  and  show  you — 
(1.)  What  the  world  is ;  (2.)  What  God's  children  are ;  (3.)  The 
haired  of  the  one  to  the  other  ;  (4.)  The  reasons  of  it. 

First,  What  the  world  is.  By  the  world  is  meant  all  carnal  and 
unregenerate  men,  they  may  be  delivered  to  us  under  a  fourfold 
character :  It  is  a  foolish  world,  a  sensual  world,  a  lazy  world,  and  a 
furious  world. 

1.  A  foolish  world  :  Titus  iii,  3,  'We  were  sometimes  foolish,  dis- 
obedient, deceived.'  Tliey  are  all  blinded  with  the  delusions  of  the 
flesh,  and  very  hard  to  be  convinced  of  their  mistakes  and  errors : 
2  Peter  i.  9,  'He  that  lacketh  grace  is  blind,  and  cannot  see  afar  off.' 
They  are  ignorant,  and  wander  in  darkness,  and  yet  will  not  be 
convinced  of  their  ignorance.  Herein  spiritual  blindness  differeth 
from  bodily.  If  a  man  be  blind  as  to  the  eyes  of  his  body,  he  would 
be  glad  of  a  meet  guide :  Acts  xv.  4,  Elymas,  when  struck  bHnd, 
would  have  somebody  to  lead  him  by  the  hand.  But  it  is  not  so  witii 
them  that  are  spiritually  blind  ;  they  count  it  a  torment  if  any  would 
direct  them  and  guide  them  into  the  right  way  ;  they  are  angry  with 
those  that  would  stop  them  in  the  way  to  hell :  Prov.  xiv.  1,  '  A 
fool  rageth,  and  is  confident.'  They  are  never  more  ragingly  confident 
than  when  most  deceived  and  most  blind.  Therefore  in  the  world 
felly  caiTieth  it,  and  wise  men  are  discouraged,  and  tempted  often  to 

104  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  iir.  [Ser.  XIX. 

leave  the  foolish  world  to  itself,  as  likely  to  do  no  good  upon  them,  but 
only  to  bring  hatred  upon  themselves. 

2.  It  is  a  sensual  world,  where  the  beast  rideth  the  man,  and  reason 
and  conscience  are  enslaved  to  sense  and  appetite  :  Titus  iii.  3, '  Serving 
divers  lusts  and  pleasures.'  Wantonness  and  pride,  and  sports  and 
vanity,  and  living  in  excess  in  meat,  drink,  and  apparel,  is  the  business 
of  their  lives,  and  their  whole  time  is  spent  in  making  '  provision  for 
the  flesh  to  fulfil  the  lusts  thereof,'  Kom.  xiii.  14.  If  you  tell  them 
of  a  soul  to  save  and  lose,  you  are  an  enemy  to  their  designed  course 
of  life,  and  they  think  you  infringe  their  liberty,  and  have  a  plot  upon 
them,  to  make  them  mopish  and  melancholy.  To  invite  this  sensual 
world  by  counsel  or  example  to  a  holy,  self-denying  life,  is  as  if  you 
were  about  to  snatch  away  the  prey  from  a  ravening  wolf,  or  the 
carrion  from  a  hungry  dog,  and  they  are  ready  to  turn  again  and  rend 
you  ;  and  therefore  a  godly  man  maketh  himself  to  such  either  a  scorn 
or  a  prey ;  you  cross  their  lusts,  and  check  their  very  natures  and 
inclinations  ;  they  think  strange  you  are  not  affected  as  they  are,  and 
whilst  you  invite  them  to  godliness,  you  do  but  tempt  their  reproach : 
1  Peter  iv.  4,  5,  '  They  think  it  strange  that  you  run  not  with  them 
into  the  same  excess  of  riot,  speaking  evil  of  you  :  who  shall  give  an 
account  to  him  who  is  ready  to  judge  the  quick  and  the  dead.' 

3.  It  is  a  lazy  world,  that  will  not  be  put  out  of  their  pace  in 
religion,  which  is  so  slow  and  easy  that  it  will  not  displease  the  flesh. 
Man  in  his  degeneracy  yet  retaineth  a  conscience,  and  therefore  though 
he  serveth  his  lusts,  yet  must  have  some  religion  to  please  his  conscience 
and  palliate  his  lusts,  but  as  little  as  may  be  serveth  the  turn.  Con- 
science is  like  the  stomach,  which  must  be  filled  ;  therefore  if  it  be  not 
able  to  digest  solid  nourishment,  it  sucketh  notliing  but  wind,  and 
filleth  itself  with  wind.  The  conscience  must  have  a  religion,  but  a 
dull,  cold,  and  dead-hearted  form  serveth  the  turn  ;  the  life  and  power 
which  the  faithful  subjects  of  God  seek  after,  and  recommend  to  the 
world,  is  too  searching,  and  not  for  their  turn.  Mat.  ix.  17,  Christ 
compareth  these  duties  to  new  wine,  full  of  spirit  and  life ;  and 
Pharisaical  fastings  and  hypocritical  devotions  to  taplash,  alluding 
to  their  skin-bottles.  There  is  a  spirit  in  holy  serious  duties,  which 
old  bottles  cannot  bear  without  breaking ;  and  therefore  if  you  cross 
and  put  them  out  of  their  dead  way,  they  cannot  bear  it. 

4.  It  is  a  malignant  or  a  furious  world:  Titus  iii.  3,  'Living  in 
malice  and  envy,  hateful  and  hating  one  another;'  who  have  an 
implacable  hatred  to  godliness ;  because  of  their  malice  they  will  hate, 
and  because  of  their  multitude  and  power  they  often  can  trouble  us : 
'  The  whole  world  lieth  in  wickedness,'  1  John  v.  19.  Some  are  more 
venomous,  and  have  an  inbred  radicated  envy  to  all  that  goodness 
which  themselves  want ;  but  all  dislike  goodness  and  serious  thoughts. 
Some  are  more  gross  in  the  outbreaking  of  their  malice  and  sensuality, 
but  all  have  a  spice  of  this  malignity,  because  of  the  perfect  difference 
and  contrary  course  of  life  between  them  and  the  people  of  Cod.  In 
short,  they  mind  earthly  things,  while  the  other  mind  heavenly,  Phil, 
iii.  19,  and  so  are  enemies  to  Christ,  and  his  interest  and  people  : 
'  They  are  of  the  world,  and  speak  of  the  world,  and  the  world  heareth 
them/  1  John  iv.  5.     They  serve  the  god  of  this  world,  2  Cor.  iv.  4  ; 

VeR.  13.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  iir.  105 

and  surely  he  hath  rage  enough  against  the  sanctified  ;  and  they  have 
then*  portion  in  this  world,  Ps.  xvii.  14,  all  that  which  they  prize  and 
value.  These  are  one  of  the  parties  which  are  here  described,  the 

Secondly,  What  God's  children  are  and  should  be  ?  A  wise,  holy, 
and  self-denying  company,  whose  work  and  scope  it  is  to  please,  and 
glorify,  and  enjoy  God. 

1.  They  are  such  as  place  all  their  hopes  and  happiness  in  a  life  to 
come ;  there  is  their  treasure,  Mat.  vi.  20,  and  there  are  their  hearts 
and  affections,  Col,  iii.  1,  2.  They  dare  not  choose  perishing  things 
for  their  portion,  but  look  mainly  to  things  unseen  and  eternal,  2  Cor. 
ivr.  18. 

2.  They  make  it  their  business  to  get  thither :  Phil.  ii.  12,  '  Work 
out  your  salvation  with  fear  and  trembling  ;'  and  Phil.  iii.  20, '  But  our 
conversation  is  in  heaven,  from  whence  we  look  for  a  Saviour.'  Their 
life  and  love,  time  and  strength,  minds  and  hearts,  are  wholly  taken 
up  about  these  things. 

3.  They  use  this  world  only  in  order  to  the  next :  Heb.  xi.  13,  '  And 
were  persuaded  of  them,'  viz.,  the  promises,  'and  embraced  them, 
confessing  they  were  strangers  and  pilgrims  on  the  earth.'  And  con- 
temn all  the  wealth  and  glory  of  the  world  in  comparison  of  God  and 
their  own  salvation,  and  meddle  sparingly  with  the  delights  of  the 
flesh,  lest  their  hearts  be  perverted  or  diverted  from  better  tilings  :  1 
Peter  ii.  11,  'As  strangers  and  pilgrims,  abstain  from  fleshly  lusts, 
which  war  against  the  soul.' 

4.  They  are  willing  to  take  others  along  with  them  to  heaven,  partly 
out  of  j)ity,  as  having  been  once  of  the  world  themselves,  as  opposite  to 
God  and  godliness  and  godly  people,  and  unmindful  of  heavenly  things, 
as  others  are,  till  the  Lord  Jesus  delivered  them  out  of  that  cursed 
estate :  Gal.  i.  4,  '  Who  gave  himself  for  our  sins,  that  he  might 
deliver  us  from  this  present  evil  world.'  Therefore  moved  with  the 
more  pity  and  compassion  towards  others,  who  are  left  in  these  chains  of 
darkness  and  sensuality  :  Titus  iii.  2,  3,  '  Showing  meekness  to  all  men  ; 
for  we  ourselves  were  sometimes  disobedient,  deceived,  serving  divers 
lusts.'  And  partly  because  grace  is  diffusive,  and  will  seek  to  propa- 
gate itself,  as  fire  turneth  all  about  it  into  fire  :  1  John  i.  3,  '  That 
which  we  have  seen  and  heard  declare  we  unto  you,  that  ye  also  may 
have  fellowship  with  us  ;  and  truly  our  fellowship  is  with  the  Father, 
and  with  his  Son  Jesus.'  Mules  and  creatures  of  a  bastard  production 
do  not  propagate  after  their  kind.  A  good  man  would  be  saving  all 
he  can  ;  he  that  believeth  heaven  and  hell  cannot  think  with  patience 
of  the  perishing  of  souls  for  which  Christ  died,  but  endeavours  to  save 
them.  Now  these  are  the  children  of  God,  or  such  as  these  they  should 
be ;  and  it  will  be  hard  for  a  holy  man  to  pass  through  his  whole  life 
without  his  portion  of  the  world's  hatred.  Certainly  few  that  are 
truly  wise,  good,  and  heavenly  can  escape  it.  Two  things  in  this  kind 
of  conversation  are  distasted — 

[1.]  It  is  convincing,  and  has  the  force  of  a  reproof  on  those  that 
will  not  submit  to  this  way  of  living:  Heb.  xi.  7,  'Noah  condemned 
the  world.'  When  you  convince  and  condemn  the  foolish,  furious 
world,  it  will  show  itself  an  opposite  world. 

106  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III,  [SeR.  XIX. 

[2.]  It  is  provoking :  2  Cor.  ix,  2,  '  Your  zeal  had  provoked  very- 
many.'  The  holy,  heavenly,  charitable  life  hath  an  excellency  in  it ; 
it  provoketh  to  imitation,  or  it  provoketh  to  envy,  or  heart-rising 
indignation  and  opposition ;  and  therefore  because  the  good  have  no 
mind  to  imitate  the  bad,  the  bad  will  emulate  or  hate  the  good. 
They  convince  the  carnal,  provoke  the  lazy  ;  therefore  they  hate  them, 
and  do  not  imitate  and  follow  them  ;  but  where  God  blesseth  the 
example  of  heavenly,  mortified,  and  self-denying  christians,  to  the 
conversion  of  others,  it  hath  a  provoking  efficacy  in  it.  Holy  conversa- 
tion worketh  as  the  word  worketh ;  some  are  pricked  at  the  heart, 
some  are  cut  at  heart :  Acts  ii.  37,  with  Acts  vii.  54,  they  that  were 
pricked  at  heart  were  converted  and  healed ;  they  that  were  cut  at 
heart  gnashed  upon  Stephen  with  their  teeth. 

Thirdly,  The  implacable  hatred  of  the   carnal   to   the   sanctified 
showeth  itself  many  ways,  but  they  may  be  refen-ed  to  these  two — 
violence  and  calumny  or  reproach.     So  our  Saviour  hath  sorted  them  : 
Mat.  V.  10,  11,  '  Blessed  are  they  which  are  persecuted  for  righteous- 
ness' sake^  for  theirs  is  the  kingdom  of  heaven.     Blessed  are  ye  when 
men  shall  revile  you,  and  persecute  you,  and  say  all  manner  of  evil 
against  you  falsely,  for  my  name's  sake.'     There  is  a  twofold  effect  of 
hatred — persecution  and  slander  ;  the  greater  or  lesser  sort  of  persecu- 
tion, when  they  pursue  their  persons  with  violence,  casting  them  out 
of  the  church,  yea,  out  of  the  world  :  John  xvi.  2,  '  They  shall  put  you 
out  of  the  synagogues  ;  yea,  the  time  cometh,  that  he  that  killeth  you 
thinketh  that  he   doeth  God  good  service.'     But  sometimes   men's 
hands  are  restrained  from  blood,  but  their  hearts  boil  with  malice ; 
therefoi'e  they  seek  to  make  religion  odious,  and  cast  out  the  names  of 
the  people  of  God  as  evil,  by  scorning  and  reviling  them,  and  taking 
all  occasions  to  slander  them  and  misrepresent  them,  and  that  either 
with  princes,  by  insiimating  to  them  that  they  who  are  seriously  godly 
are  enemies  to  their  interests,  and  such  an  odious  sort  of  men  as  are 
unfit  to  live  in  their  dominions.     As  Haman  said  of  the  Jews,  '  There 
is  a  certain  people  whose  laws  are  divers  from  all  people,  neither 
keep  they  the  king's  laws,  and  therefore  it  is  not  for  the  king's  profit 
to  suffer  them  to  live.'     Alas  !  were  we  conscious  to  all  the  insinuations 
which  are  whispered  and  buzzed  into  the  ears  of  the  kings  and  princes  of 
the  earth,  we  should  wonder  more  at  God's  providence  and  our  protection. 
Sometimes  they  take  all  occasions  to  slander  them  to  the  populacy  ; 
as  those  envious  Jews,  Acts  xvii.  6,  '  These  have  turned  the  world  up- 
side down,  and  are  come  hither  also.'  ,  It  may  be  they  may  be  trouble- 
some to  a  corrupt  world,  as  a  physician  is  with  his  medicines  to  a 
body  filled  with  ill  humours.     If  they  trouble  the  world,  it  is  for  their 
health,  for  their  peace,  for  the  saving  of  their  souls.     Again,  they 
revile  and  scorn  them  upon  ordinary  private  occasions  ;  as  David  was 
the  song  of  the  abjects  and  hypocritical  mockers  in  feasts,  Ps.  xxxv. 
15,  16.     They  expose  them  to  the  contempt  of  base  people,  and  their 
names  are  torn  and  rent  in  pieces  in  every  jovial  and  festival  meeting  ; 
and  Avhen  they  are  warming  themselves  with  wine  and  good  cheer,  one 
dish  brought  to  the  table  is  John  Baptist's  head  in  a  charger,  some 
godly,  christian,  and  grave  minister ;  and  usually  scoffs  and  jests  at  godli- 
ness are  the  most  relishing  sauces  of  all  their  banquets.     The  dinner 

VeR.  13.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III,  107 

never  goeth  well  oflf  unless  they  scoff  and  rail  at   some   that  fear 

Fourthly,  The  reasons  ;  and  they  are — 

1.  Ignorance  ;  which  is  twofold — simple  and  plain  ignorance,  or  the 
ignorance  of  prejudicate  malice. 

[1.]  Simple  and  plain  ignorance :  1  John  iii.  1, 2, '  The  world  knoweth 
us  not,  because  it  knew  him  not.'  They  know  not  our  birth  and 
breeding,  our  hopes  and  expectations,  and  are  not  acquainted  with  the 
nature  and  worth  of  spiritual  things,  and  so  it  is  but  the  scorn  of  a  fool 
that  valueth  a  carnal  life  above  a  spiritual. 

[2.]  Prejudicate  malice.  When  men  will  not  search  into  the  prin- 
ciples, practices,  and  reasons  of  the  godly  life,  they  are  willingly  ignor- 
ant ;  they  will  not  hear  any  arguments  and  reasons,  because  they  have 
a  mind  to  condemn  and  hate  ;  and  so  will  not  understand  the  thing 
they  judge  of:  Jude  10,  '  Speak  evil  of  the  things  they  know  not.' 
Justin  Martyr's  complaint  was,  that  the  christians  were  condemned  un- 
heard, without  any  just  inquiry  into  their  principles  and  practices.  A 
nearer  view  would  undeceive  them,  as  Peter  Martyr's  similitude,  re- 
lated by  Celius  Secundus  Curio  in  the  life  of  Galiacius,  expresseth  it, 
that  if  they  were  not  blinded  by  malice,  they  might  see  a  beauty  in  the 
ways  of  God,  and  the  reasons  and  motives  by  which  his  children  are 
governed.  One  John  Francis  Caserta,  a  nobleman,  was  earnest  with 
his  cousin  to  hear  Peter  Martyr  preach.  One  day  with  much  entreaty 
he  was  drawn  to  hear  him,  not  so  much  with  a  desire  to  learn  and  pro- 
fit, as  out  of  curiosity.  Peter  Martyr  was  then  opening  the  first  epistle 
to  the  Corinthians,  and  showing  how  much  the  judgment  of  the  natu- 
ral understanding  is  mistaken  in  things  spiritual.  Among  other  things, 
he  used  this  similitude  :  If  a  man  riding  in  an  open  country  should 
afar  off  see  men  and  women  dancing  together,  and  should  not  hear 
their  music  according  to  which  they  dance  and  tread  out  their  mea- 
sures, he  would  think  them  to  be  a  company  of  fairies  and  madmen,  ap- 
pearing in  such  various  motions  and  antic  postures ;  but  if  he  came 
nearer,  and  heard  the  musical  notes,  according  to  which  they  exactly 
dance,  he  would  find  that  to  be  art  which  before  he  thought  madness. 
The  same  happeneth  to  them  who  at  first  see  a  change  of  life,  com- 
pany, fashions  in  their  former  conversations ;  he  thinketh  they  are 
brain-sick  and  foolish ;  but  when  he  cometh  more  intimately  to  weigh  the 
thing,  and  what  an  exact  harmony  there  is  between  such  a  life  and  con- 
versation and  the  motions  of  God's  Holy  Spirit  and  the  directions  of 
his  word,  he  findeth  that  to  be  the  highest  reason  which  before  he 
judged  madness  and  folly.  This  similitude  struck  this  gallant  to  the 

2.  Envy,  because  of  the  different  course  of  life,  and  the  privileges  at- 
tending it,  comfort,  blessing,  success.  So  Pilate  knew  that  the  priests 
delivered  Jesus  for  envy,  Mat.  xxvii.  18.  Avarice  sold  him,  but  envy 
delivered  him.  What  envy  it  was  is  expressed  in  another  evangelist  : 
'  You  see  how  we  prevail  nothing ;  if  we  let  him  alone,  all  the  world 
will  go  after  him,'  John  xi.  47,  48.  They  saw  God's  presence  and 
power  was  with  him,  and  that  stirred  up  their  envy.  Their  worldly 
interest  was  their  great  idol,  and  they  looked  upon  the  success 
of  Christ's  kingdom    as  contrary   to   it.       So   Acts  xvii.    5,   'The 

108  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.         [SeR.  XIX. 

malignant  Jews,  moved  with  envy, 'stirred  up  all  that  trouble  against 

3.  Christ  is  the  head  of  one  party,  and  Satan  of  the  other.  Christ 
hath  introduced  truth  and  holiness,  and  the  devil  is  the  principle  and 
architect  of  all  wickedness  and  cruelty  and  hatred  ;  thei-efore  since  he 
worketh  in  the  children  of  disobedience,  and  they  are  taken  captive  by 
him  at  his  will  and  pleasure,  is  not  the  hand  of  Satan  in  all  this  ? 

Object.  But  how  can  it  stand  with  the  goodness  and  rigliteousness 
of  God's  providence  that  such  a  numerous  and  potent  party  as  the 
multitude  of  ungodly  should  live  in  enmity  with  his  people,  and  that 
his  faithful  servants  should  be  continually  exercised  with  their  hatred 
and  molestation,  and  sometimes  to  the  utter  loss  and  ruin  of  all  their 
worldly  interests  ?     I  answer — 

[1.]  It  is  for  the  glory  of  his  providence  that  he  ruleth  in  the  midst 
of  his  enemies,  Ps,  ex.  2,  and  upholdeth  his  church  not  only  against 
opposition,  but  by  opposition.  His  church  is  really  the  bush  that  is 
burned  but  not  consumed ;  he  can  keep  them  from  the  evil  of  the 
world,  though  he  doth  not  take  them  out  of  the  world,  John  xvii.  15. 

[2.]  That  self-denying  obedience  is  most  acceptable  to  God.  A 
religion  that  costs  nothing  is  worth  nothing.  Though  we  be  deep  suf- 
ferers in  this  world,  and  our  demand  in  arrear  unpaid  till  another  world, 
yet  it  is  fit  we  should  be  tried  :  James  i.  12,  '  Blessed  is  the  man  that 
endureth  temptation,  for  when  he  is  tried  he  shall  receive  a  crown 
of  life.'  It  suiteth  with  God's  conduct  now,  when  he  is  trying,  not 
rewarding  the  children  of  men. 

[3.]  He  that  soundly  believeth  the  promises  of  God  will  not  stick 
much  at  suffering  by  the  hatred  of  the  world  ;  he  doth  but  lose  a 
feather  to  win  a  crown  :  Mat.  v.  11,  '  Kejoice  and  be  exceeding  glad, 
for  great  is  your  reward  in  heaven.' 

[4.]  This  kind  of  government  is  necessary  to  prevent  that  scurf  and 
dross  which  is  apt  to  overgrow  the  church  and  particular  believers,  the 
scurf  of  hypocrites  creeping  into  the  visible  societies  of  the  faithful. 
When  profession  is  cheap,  many  will  take  it  up  though  their  hearts  be 
not  with  God,  Mat.  xiii.  21  ;  and  the  scurf  and  dross  of  vanity  and  cor- 
ruption growing  into  the  lives  of  the  saints,  as  filth  on  standing  waters. 
Tribulation  is  God's  fan  and  physic :  Mat.  iii.  11,  'Whose  fan  is  in  his 
hand,  and  he  will  thoroughly  purge  his  floor  ; '  Isa.  xxix.  9,  '  By  this 
shall  the  iniquity  of  Jacob  be  purged  out.' 

Doct.  2.  We  have  no  reason  to  wonder  at  it,  if  it  prove  our  lot  to 
meet  with  the  world's  hatred. 

This  is  dissuaded  in  two  places,  and  there  is  a  different  word  used 
in  both,  as  here  in  the  text,  and  1  Peter  iv.  12,  '  Think  it  not  strange 
concerning  the  fiery  trial.'  We  wonder  at  what  is  great  and  grievous, 
terrible  and  strange,  at  what  is  rare,  new,  and  unusual,  not  thought  of 

First,  I  will  inquire  how  we  are  apt  to  wonder,  or  to  count  it  grie- 
vous and  strange — (1.)  Out  of  security ;  (2.)  Impatience  of  the  cross. 

1.  Out  of  our  security.  The  children  of  God  are  loath  to  forecast 
trials,  and  therefore,  if  we  have  any  rest  from  troubles,  we  think  it  will 
be  perpetual :  Ps.  xxx.  6,  '  I  said  in  my  prosperity,  I  shall  never  be 
moved,'     As  if  this  breathing-time  and  short  truce  were  a  sure  peace, 

VeR.  13.]  SERMONS  UPON  ]  JOHN  III.  109 

that  will  never  be  interrupted.  If  we  can  put  a  carnal  pillow  under 
our  heads,  we  lie  down  and  sleep,  and  dream  of  much  worldly  ease,  as 
if  all  bitterness  were  past,  and  so  are  very  apt  and  subject  to  security, 
usually  when  trials  are  nearest.  Christ  finds  his  disciples  asleep  just  as 
the  high  priest's  officers  were  coming  to  attack  him,  Mat.  xxvi.  40, 
and  Jonah  was  asleep  in  the  ship  when  about  to  be  thrown  into  the 
sea,  Jonah  i.  5. 

2.  Impatiency  of  the  cross.  We  consult  with  present  sense  ;  ease  is 
pleasing  to  flesh  and  blood.  We  say  rest  is  good,  and  are  loath  to  have 
our  ears  grated  with  the  remembrance  of  the  cross,  though  Christ 
biddeth  us  take  it  up  daily,  Luke  ix.  36,  in  the  preparation  of  our 
minds,  and  reconciling  and  making  it  familiar  to  our  thoughts  before  it 
Cometh ;  therefore  we  remove  those  things  out  of  our  thoughts,  and  so 
marvel  and  are  amazed  when  they  come  upon  us. 

Secondly,  Why  is  marvelling  forbidden.?  what  great  harm  is  there  in 
that  ?  (1.)  That  we  may  not  be  surprised ;  (2.)  Perplexed  or  offended 
when  the  trial  befalleth  us. 

1.  We  must  not  marvel  or  be  amazed,  as  men  are  when  they  meet 
with  some  new  and  strange  thing,  but  be  affected  as  with  a  matter  we 
looked  for  before,  and  accordingly  have  prepared  for  it.  Sorrows  fore- 
seen leave  not  so  sad  and  forcible  an  impression  upon  the  spirit :  Job 
iii.  15,  '  The  evil  which  I  feared  is  come  upon  me.*  Vv^'hen  we  expect 
evils,  they  hurt  the  less  ;  but  when  it  cometh  unlooked  for,  it  is  the 
more  burdensome.  That  child  saith  his  lesson  best  that  hath  often 
conned  it  over. 

2.  Perplexed  or  offended  ;  for  this  marvelling  is  forbidden  in  order 
to  offence  ;  when  we  see  nothing  befalleth  us  but  what  we  have  heard 
of  beforehand,  and  were  warned  of  long  beforehand,  we  are  not  so  apt 
to  stagger  at  the  cross,  and  shrink  under  it :  John  xvi.  1,  '  These 
things  I  have  spoken  to  you,  that  you  should  not  be  offended.'  We 
pretend  to  believe  the  scriptures  when  we  read  them,  3'et  complain 
when  they  are  fulfilled.  Never  any  one  afflicted  as  I  am,  scorned  and 
hated  as  I  am  ;  and  all  because  we  promised  to  ourselves  a  more  quiet 
estate  than  the  world's  hatred  or  the  tenor  of  God's  dispensations  will 

Thirdly,  What  reasons  there  are  to  take  off  our  marvel. 

1.  Our  troubles,  by  which  the  world's  hatred  is  manifested,  are 
decreed  by  God  ;  the  fulfilling  of  God's  eternal  counsel  and  decrees 
should  be  no  marvel  to  us  :  Kom.  viii.  29,  '  He  hath  predestinated  us 
to  be  conformed  to  the  image  of  his  Son  ; '  first  in  affliction,  then  in 
glory  :  1  Thes.  iii.  3,  '  That  no  man  should  be  moved  by  these  afflictions, 
for  yourselves  know  that  we  are  appointed  thereunto.'  There  is  nothing 
strange  in  it,  but  what  God  hath  determined  to  come  upon  us. 

2.  We  should  not  marvel  at  that  which  we  are  frequently  forewarned 
of:  these  things  are  foretold  in  scripture:  'You  shall  be  hated  of  all 
men  for  my  name's  sake,'  Mark  xiii.  13  ;  John  xv.  19,  '  Because  I  have 
chosen  you  out  of  the  world,  therefore  the  world  hatetli  you  ; '  John 
xvi.  33,  '  In  the  world  you  shall  have  tribulation,  but  be  of  good  cheer, 
I  have  overcome  the  world ; '  Acts  xiv.  22,  '  That  we  through  much 
tribulation  should  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  heaven  ;'  2  Tim.  iii.  12, 
'  All  that  will  live  godly  in  Christ  Jesus  must  suffer  persecution.' 

110  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XIX. 

3.  Because  it  was  fulfilled  in  our  head  :  John  xv.  18,  '  The  world 
hated  me  before  it  hated  you.'  If  the  world  hated  Christ,  no  wonder 
if  it  hate  us  ;  if  Jesus  Christ,  who  never  committed  sin,  who  came  into 
the  world  with  a  design  of  love,  to  do  mankind  the  greatest  good,  was 
liated  so  far  as  to  be  put  to  a  shameful  death.  Jesus  Christ  was  the 
greatest  enemy  to  sin  that  ever  was  born  ;  he  hath  endured  the  contra- 
diction of  sinners  before  us.  Therefore  if  we  are  heirs  to  his  sufferings, 
and  that  enmity  which  began  with  him,  and  it  light  upon  us  for  his 
sake,  should  we  marvel  and  strain  at  it  ?  Nothing  should  seem  grie- 
vous to  a  believer  which  he  hath  once  tasted.  If  Christ  drank  of  the 
bitter  cup  himself,  he  will  have  the  more  sympathy  towards  us  when 
we  pledge  him  in  it.  In  short,  it  is  a  valuable  preferment,  the  fellow- 
ship of  his  sufferings,  and  conformity  to  his  death. 

4.  That  which  ever  from  the  beginning  of  the  world  hath  been  the 
lot  of  good  and  holy  men  should  not  be  marvelled  at :  Mat.  v.  12,  '  So 
persecuted  they  the  prophets  which  were  before  you.'  The  best  have 
undergone  these  troubles,  and  surely  we  are  not  better  than  our  fathers, 
1  Kings  xix.  4. 

5.  That  which  is  necessary  to  mortify  the  old  man,  and  break  the 
force  of  our  pride  and  carnal  affections,  to  try  our  patience,  to  reclaim 
us  from  our  wanderings,  to  awaken  in  us  a  more  earnest  pursuit  of 
things  to  come,  to  keep  us  from  surfeiting  of  ease  and  prosperity,  and 
to  cut  off  the  fuel  and  provisions  of  our  lusts,  should  not  be  marvelled 
at ;  but  this  discipline  is  necessary  for  all  those  things :  1  Peter  i.  6, 
'  If  need  be  ye  are  in  heaviness  for  a  season,  through  manifold  tempta- 
tions.' The  scriptures  abundantly  show  this  everywhere.  Therefore 
let  us  not  marvel  if  we  meet  with  trouble  and  opposition  from  men  for 
Christ's  sake ;  it  hath  ever  been  so,  and  will  be  so,  and  shall  we  be 
surprised  and  perplexed  at  it  ?  If  men  use  to  be  startled  or  surprised, 
it  is  at  something  that  is  strange.  The  wonder  is  rather  of  the  other 
side,  if  there  be  any  remission  of  this  enmity,  considering  the  disposition 
of  the  world. 

Use  1.  Is  to  persuade  us  to  venture  upon  the  profession  of  Chris- 
tianity with  this  resolution,  to  bear  patiently  the  frowns  and  hatred  of 
the  world.  Christ  telleth  us  the  worst  at  first.  Mat.  xvi.  24,  and  is 
therein  contrary  to  Satan,  who  showeth  us  the  bait  but  hideth  the  hook  ; 
but  Christ  telleth  us  that,  when  God  seeth  fit,  we  must  be  willing  to 
encounter  temptations  and  the  displeasures  of  the  world  ;  whether 
they  come  or  no,  we  must  arm  ourselves  with  a  mind  to  endure  them. 
God  never  intended  Isaac  should  be  sacrificed,  yet  he  will  have 
Abraham  lay  the  knife  to  his  throat.  To  think  of  going  to  heaven, 
and  yet  dream  of  a  life  of  ease  and  peace,  free  from  all  manner  of 
troubles  and  afflictions  for  conscience'  sake,  it  is  all  one  as  if  a  soldier 
going  to  the  war  should  promise  himself  continual  peace  with  the 
enemy,  or  a  mariner  going  a  long  voyage  should  imagine  a  perpetual 
calm.  Therefore  you  must  reckon  upon  the  scorns  of  the  woild,  the 
distaste  of  carnal  friends,  the  oppositions  of  the  fro  ward  part  of  man- 
kind, and  be  '  shod  with  the  preparation  of  the  gospel  of  peace,'  Eph.  vi. 
15.  Have  a  resolved  mind  to  go  through  thick  and  thin,  and  to  follow 
Christ  in  all  conditions. 

Use  2.  Fortify  your  minds  against  the  world's  hatred  by  such  con- 

VeR.  13.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  Ill 

siderations  as  may  best  support  you.  Though  you  be  hated  of  the 
world,  it  is  enough  that  you  are  beloved  of  God  and  accepted  by  God ; 
that  is  a  christian's  greatest  ambition,  2  Cor.  v.  9,  greatest  joy,  Ps.  iv. 
6,  7.     When  God  smileth,  it  is  no  matter  who  frowneth. 

2.  God  will  take  your  case  in  hand,  and  then  whatever  you  lose  by 
the  hatred  and  wrath  of  man  shall  be  compensated  to  you  and  made 
up  to  you  by  the  love  of  God  :  2  Thes.  i.  6,  7, '  Seeing  it  is  a  righteous 
thing  with  God  to  recompense  tribulation  to  them  that  trouble  you ; 
and  to  you  that  are  troubled,  rest  with  us,  when  the  Lord  Jesus  shall 
be  revealed  from  heaven,  with  his  mighty  angels.' 

3.  That  faith  and  love  to  God  tried  is  better,  and  will  yield  more 
comfort,  than  bare  faith  and  love  without  trial :  1  Peter  i.  7,  '  Knowing 
that  the  trial  of  your  faith  is  much  more  precious  than  gold  that 
perisheth,  that  your  faith  may  be  found  to  praise,  glory,  and  honour, 
at  Chiist's  appearing.'  '  It  is  the  self-denying  obedience  that  yieldeth 
most  comfort ;  when  graces  are  proved  so  as  to  be  approved,  then  they 
have  the  clearest  evidence  in  our  conscience. 

4.  The  way  to  live  happily  is  to  obey  the  will  of  God  rather  than  to 
obey  the  lusts  of  men ;  for  by  pleasing  of  God,  though  you  seem  to 
endanger  your  interests,  you  do  best  establish  them  :  Prov,  xvi.  7, 
'  When  a  man's  ways  please  the  Lord,  he  maketh  even  his  enemies  to 
be  at  peace  with  him.' 

Use  3.  If  this  hatred  be  restrained,  be  the  more  thankful  to  God 
and  men. 

1.  To  God.  Certainly  a  good  day  should  be  well  improved  ;  Acts 
ix.  31,  when  the  church  had  rest,  they  walked  in  the  fear  of  God  and 
comforts  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  When  we  are  not  called  to  passive 
obedience  and  sufferings,  our  active  obedience  should  be  the  more 
cheerfully  performed.  The  primitive  christians  suffered  more  willingly 
for  Christ  than  we  speak  for  him ;  they  dreaded  the  fire  less  than  we 
do  a  frown  or  scorn.  Surely  when  we  are  exempted  from  outward 
troubles  and  sufferings,  our  peace  and  comfort  will  cost  us  more  in 
getting ;  and  therefore  we  should  be  more  in  service,  and  zeal,  and 
diligence.  If  we  cannot  deny  the  ease  of  the  flesh  for  the  labours  of 
the  gospel,  how  shall  we  deny  the  interests  of  the  flesh  for  the  sufferings 
of  the  gospel,  and  lay  all  at  Christ's  feet  ? 

2.  To  men.  Let  us  make  all  thankful  returns  to  the  magistrates 
we  live  under,  by  prayers  for  them,  and  exemplary  obedience.  The 
apostle  telleth  us  that  the  magistrate  is  *  the  minister  of  God  to  thee 
for  good,'  Rom.  xiii,  4.  God  by  them  reacheth  out  this  good  to  thee, 
of  peace  and  quiet  in  the  profession  and  practice  of  godliness  ;  there- 
fore all  manner  of  prayer  is  due  for  them  :  1  Tim.  ii.  1,  2,  *  I  exhort, 
therefore,  that,  first  of  all,  supplications,  prayers,  intercessions,  and 
giving  of  thanks  be  made  for  all  men  ;  for  kings,  and  for  all  that  are 
in  authority  ;  that  we  may  lead  a  quiet  and  peaceable  life  in  all 
godliness  and  honesty.'  Were  it  not  for  the  ordinance  of  magis- 
tracy, what  a  shambles  and  slaughter-house  would  the  world  be ! 
Now  when  God  inclineth  their  hearts  to  give  peace  and  rest  to  his 
people,  the  favour  is  to  be  acknowledged  by  such  ways  as  become 
Christianity,  by  hearty  prayers  to  God  for  them,  and  eminent  obed- 
ience to  them. 

112  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XIX. 

Use  4.  Is  information.  Some  practical  corollaries  I  will  thence 

1.  What  little  need  we  have  to  be  troubled,  if  we  meet  with  the 
hatred  of  the  world  in  doing  our  duty.  Surely  it  is  better  to  suffer 
injuries  than  to  do  them,  better  be  an  Abel  than  a  Cain  ;  there  is  glory 
and  comfort  in  sufferings,  but  shame  in  sin.  It  is  a  discouragement 
to  us  ministers  that  a  man  cannot  promote  any  public  good,  but  he  is 
like  to  be  a  sacrifice  to  public  hatred,  but  he  must  displease  men  ;  nay, 
not  only  the  carnal  part  of  the  world,  but  even  the  weaker  sort  of  the 
people  of  God,  who,  because  of  remaining  darkness,  many  times  put 
good  for  evil,  and  evil  for  good:  'If  I  yet  pleased  men,  were  I  the 
servant  of  Christ  ? '  Gal.  i.  10.  Displease  them  you  must  to  their 
profit,  though  it  be  to  your  own  hurt. 

2.  What  need  the  children  of  God  have  to  walk  circumspectly.  We 
live  in  the  midst  of  those  that  hate  us,  and  malice  and  hatred  is  quick- 
sighted,  and  will  soon  spy  out  our  failings:  Ps.  xxvii.  11,  '  Lead  me  in 
a  plain  path,  because  of  mine  enemies;'  in  the  margin  it  is,  'those 
which  observe  me.'  Enemies  are  observers :  Jer.  xx.  10,  '  They  watch 
for  my  halting  ; '  if  they  could  find  him  tripping  in  anything,  to  defame 
him.  Among  friends  we  are  more  careless,  but  before  enemies  we  look 
to  every  step.  If  you  falter  in  your  duty  a  little,  their  mouths  will  be 
opened  against  you  :  Neh.  v.  9,  '  Ought  we  not  to  walk  in  the  fear  of 
our  God,  because  of  the  reproach  of  the  heathen  our  enemies  ?  '  Col. 
iv,  5,  *  Walk  in  wisdom  towards  them  that  are  without." 

3.  If  it  be  no  wonder  that  the  world  hateth  the  brethren,  and  you 
were  sometimes  of  this  world,  you  must  show  forth  the  reality  of  the 
change  which  God  hath  wrought  in  you  by  love.  The  characteristic 
of  the  world  is  hatred,  but  the  people  of  God,  love ;  this  is  the  very 
constitution  of  their  souls,  and  this  love  is  first  to  the  saints,  and  then 
to  all  men  :  John  xiii.  35,  '  By  this  shall  all  men  know  that  ye  are  my 
disciples,  if  ye  love  one  another.'  In  regeneration  there  is  not  only  an 
impression  of  the  purity  and  holiness  of  the  divine  nature,  but  the 
goodness  and  amiableness  of  it  in  real  inclinations  of  doing  good,  and 
seeking  the  welfare  of  others  to  our  power. 

4.  If  the  world  hate  God's  children,  see  that  this  hatred  be  not 
deserved  by  any  fault  of  yours,  as  pride,  indiscreet  zeal,  unnecessary 
intermeddling,  or  any  injurious  dealing :  1  Peter  iv.  15,  16,  '  Let  none 
of  you  suffer  as  a  murderer,  or  a  thief,  or  an  evil-doer,  or  a  busybody 
in  other  men's  matters.  But  if  any  suffer  as  a  christian,  let  him  not 
be  ashamed  ;  but  glorify  God  in  this-behalf.'  See  that  it  be  for  truth 
and  holiness.  It  is  a  sad  thing  to  be  a  martyr  to  passion,  pride,  vain- 
glory, self-interest,  private  conceits  and  opinions ;  this  hardeneth  the 
Avorld,  and  will  be  cause  of  shame  to  yourselves.  The  world  will  justify 
themselves,  and  say  it  is  not  for  their  religion,  but  their  pride  and 
peevish  singularity  ;  and  besides,  you  will  lose  that  true  comfort  which 
otherwise  you  might  have  in  your  sufferings  for  Christ. 

VeR.  14.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  113 


We  know  that  loe  have  passed  from  death  unto  Ufe^  because  loe  love 
the  brethren :  he  that  loveth  not  his  brother  abideth  in  death. — 
1  John  iii.  14. 

For  the  connection  of  this  verse  with  the  former,  this  may  be  given  as 
a  reason  why  we  should  not  be  troubled  with  the  wlhrld's  hatred,  because, 
as  that  opposite  world  to  Christ  and  his  kingdom  are  known  by  their 
hatred,  and,  however  divided  in  interests,  yet  are  united  by  their  enmity 
to  God's  people,  so  are  we  known  and  distinguished  by  our  love.  Our 
love  to  those  whom  they  hate  may  expose  us  to  great  sufferings,  and 
therefore  they  judge  us  miserable ;  but  if  by  our  love,  though  it  be  to 
the  loss  of  life  itself  for  owning  them,  and  the  cause  for  which  they 
suffer,  we  may  come  to  clear  up  our  right  to  eternal  happiness,  we  have 
no  reason  to  be  discouraged.  In  short,  if  the  world  will  be  known  by 
their  hatred  to  the  brethren,  let  us  resolve  to  be  known  by  our  love  to 
them,  whatever  indignities  and  scorns  we  suffer  for  their  sakes  :  '  We 
know  we  have  passed  from  death  to  life,'  &c. 

In  the  text  there  is  a  comparison  of  opposites — (1.)  The  happiness 
of  those  that  love  the  brethren ;  (2.)  The  misery  of  those  that  love 
them  not. 

1.  In  the  former  clause  there  is — (1.)  The  privilege ;  (2.)  The  quali- 
fication ;  (3.)  The  conclusion  thence  inferred. 

[1.]  The  privilege  is  a  translation  '  from  death  to  life  ; '  that  is,  from 
a  state  of  spiritual  and  eternal  death  into  a  state  of  grace,  peace,  and 
liappiness  ;  for  it  is  explained,  ver.  15,  so  as  to  have  eternal  life  abiding 
in  us.  By  our  unfeigned  love  to  the  brethren  we  know  that  we  are  re- 
generate christians,  and  have  all  the  privileges  which  belong  to  such  ; 
for  we  have  passed  from  the  death  of  sin  to  a  life  of  grace,  from  wrath 
and  condemnation  to  a  life  of  glory.  The  terminus  a  quo,  from  which 
we  turn,  is  death  ;  the  terminus  ad  quern,  to  which  we  turn,  is  life. 
The  motion  between  both,  '  we  have  passed,'  or  we  are  already  in  a 
state  of  life. 

[2.]  The  qualification,  sign,  and  token  of  it,  '  love  to  the  brethren  ; ' 
it  is  not  mentioned  as  the  cause  of  the  thing,  but  as  the  mark  whereby 
we  know  it. 

[3.]  The  certainty  of  the  connection  or  conclusion  drawn  from 
thence,  '  we  know.'  He  doth  not  say  we  think,  or  hope  well,  but  we 
know ;  it  is  not  a  conjectural,  but  a  certain  knowledge. 

2.  The  misery  of  those  that  have  not  this  qualification.     Where — 
[1.]  The  expression  of  their  defect  is  to  be  noted,  '  He  that  loveth 

not ; '  not  he  that  hateth,  though  he  be  not  apparently  one  of  the 
opposite  world  :  '  Marvel  not  if  the  world  hateth  you  ; '  but  '  He  that 
loveth  not.'  It  is  not  enough  if  a  man  be  not  found  among  the  per- 
secuting world,  and  keeps  himself  from  hatred  and  malice,  if  he  doth 
not  own  the  people  of  God  when  persecuted  by  others,  when  scorned 
and  persecuted  by  others. 

[2.]  His  danger,  '  He  abideth  in  death  ; '  that  is,  remaineth  in  a  car- 
nal state,  and  so  obnoxious  to  eternal  death  and  damnation ;  he  is  not 

vol.  XXI.  u 

114  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XX. 

regenerate,  and  shall  die  in  his  sins.  As  it  is  said  in  the  case  of 
believing,  so  it  is  true  in  the  case  of  loving :  John  viii.  24,  '  He  that 
believeth  not  that  I  am  he,  shall  die  in  his  sins.'  To  go  to  the  grave 
before  we  get  rid  of  sin,  to  die  impenitent  and  unreconciled  to  God,  is 
the  greatest  misery  that  can  befall  us. 

Doct.  That  a  sure  note  of  our  passing  from  death  to  life  is  our  love 
to  the  brethren. 

I  shall — (1.)  Open  what  it  is  to  pass  from  death  to  life  ;  (2.)  What 
love  of  the  brethren  is  here  understood  ;  (3.)  Consider  it  as  a  sure  note 
and  evidence. 

First,  What  it  is  to  pass  from  death  to  life.  This  I  shall  show  in 
several  propositions. 

1.  Man  before  the  fall  did  enjoy  a  spiritual  life  and  communion  with 
God,  being  his  creature,  and  fitted  for  commerce  with  him  ;  but  upon 
his  defection  lost  it.  The  common  notion  that  we  have  of  death  is  a 
privation  of  life  :  we  once  had  life  by  virtue  of  our  conjunction  with 
God,  but  we  lost  it  by  our  defection  from  him.  The  natural  life  con- 
sists in  a  conjunction  of  the  soul  with  the  body,  and  the  natural  death 
is  a  separation  of  the  soul  from  the  body  ;  the  spiritual  life  consists  in 
the  union  of  the  soul  with  God,  and  the  spiritual  death  is  a  separation 
and  estrangement  from  him  :  Eph.  iv.  18,  '  Alienated  from  the  life  of 
God.'  So  that  man  by  nature  is  wholly  destitute  of  tlie  life  of  God. 
We  did  once  partake  of  the  life  of  God,  but  have  now  lost  it.  It  was 
threatened.  Gen.  ii.  17,  '  In  the  day  that  thou  eatest  thereof  thou  shalt 
surely  die  ; '  and  executed,  Rom.  v.  12,  '  Whereas  by  one  man  sin  en- 
tered into  the  world,  and  death  by  sin,  so  that  death  passed  upon  all 
men,  for  that  all  have  sinned.'  Spiritual  death  is  one  thing  there 

2.  In  this  state  of  separation  from  God,  man  is  impotent  to  every 
good  work,  and  liable  to  eternal  death  and  condemnation, 

[1.]  Impotent  to  every  good  and  saving  work  :  Eph.  ii.  1,  '  We  were 
sometimes  dead  in  trepasses  and  sins.'  We  are  all  deprived  of  original 
righteousness,  or  any  principle  of  grace  which  might  incline  us  to  God. 
The  life  of  God  consisted  in  his  image  impressed  on  man  or  bestowed 
on  man,  that  by  Adam's  fall  was  lost  to  us  all  from  our  very  concep- 
tion and  birth  :  Eccles.  vii.  29,  '  God  made  man  upright,  but  they  have 
sought  out  many  inventions.'  It  must  needs  be  so,  for  redemption, 
reconciliation,  and  salvation  do  all  imply  it.  Redemption  implieth  a 
man  in  thraldom  ;  and  reconciliation  an  enemy,  a  man  fallen  and  lapsed 
into  the  displeasure  of  God ;  and  sah^'ation  the  saving  of  that  which  is 
lost:  so  that  w^e  were  all  sinners  by  nature,  or  else  we  needed  no 
redeemer,  nor  reconciler,  nor  saviour.  If  our  salvation  be  now  by  a 
redeemer,  it  implieth  a  recovery  and  restoration  ;  and  sinful,  miserable 
mankind  is  the  object  of  it.  Infants  from  their  very  conception  and 
birth  cannot  be  excused  nor  exempted,  for  all  that  are  saved  by  a 
redeemer  were  once  lost,  and  need  a  recovery  ;  we  all  need  to  be 
reconciled  and  sanctified.  The  necessity  of  a  redeemer  proveth  the 
guilt,  and  of  a  sanctifier  the  corruption  of  mankind.  Actual  sin  will 
easily  be  granted,  but  the  earlinessand  commonness  of  evil  inclinations 
do  as  sensibly  prove  original  sin,  even  before  actual  sin  had  time  to 
breed  evil  habits  in  us.     It  is  true,  that  the  longer  men  live  in  their 

VeR.  14.]  SERMONS  UrON  1  JOHN  III.  115 

unregenerate  state,  the  more  they  are  estranged  from  God,  and  contract 
a  further  impotency  by  their  ignorance  and  hardness  of  heart ;  but  at 
first,  '  That  which  is  born  of  flesh  is  flesh,'  John  iii.  6  ;  and  their 
operatijons  can  rise  no  higher  than  a  fleshly  inclination  moveth  them, 
and  therefore  carnal  men  are  dead  while  they  live  :  Luke  xv.  24,  '  This 
my  son  was  dead,  but  is  alive ;  was  lost,  but  is  found.' 

[2.]  Man  is  obnoxious  to  eternal  death  and  condemnation  by  reason 
of  sin,  and  if  he  continue  so,  will  certainly  for  ever  perish  :  Eph.  ii.  3, 
'  And  were  by  nature  children  of  wrath,  even  as  others  ; '  and  John  iii. 
36,  *  Whosoever  believeth  not,  the  wrath  of  God  abideth  on  him ; ' 
and  therefore  he  can  expect  nothing  but  everlasting  death  and  destruc- 
tion. This  is  the  condition  of  man  by  nature.  Now  every  man  would 
desire  to  be  freed  from  death,  and  to  be  made  a  partaker  of  eternal  life. 

3.  The  Lord  Jesus,  out  of  his  wonderful  mercy,  came  to  restore  life 
to  mankind  thus  dead  and  lost ;  he  died  that  we  might  live,  therefore 
called  the  prince  or  giver  of  life,  Acts  iii.  15,  because  this  was  the  great 
benefit  which  he  procured  for  us.  And  this  life  which  we  have  by 
Christ  answereth  to  the  death  which  we  incurred  by  Adam.  Instead 
of  death  spiritual,  he  hath  procured  for  us  the  life  of  grace,  and  also  the 
life  of  glory,  to  take  off  death  eternal  merited  by  sin,  that  the  sentence 
of  death  might  be  reversed  by  justification,  and  the  penitent  and  believ- 
ing sinner  put  into  a  living  condition  by  sanctification,  and  finally 
admitted  to  glory.  All  this  is  purchased  by  Chi-ist :  1  John  iv.  9, '  God 
sent  his  Son  into  the  world,  that  we  might  live  through  him ; '  live  spiri- 
tually, live  eternally.  All  this  is  inferred  in  the  covenant  of  Christ,  to 
those  that  will  submit  to  his  healing  dispensations  :  John  v.  24,  '  Verily, 
verily,  I  say  unto  you,  He  that  heareth  my  word,  and  believeth  on  him 
that  sent  me,  hath  everlasting  life,  and  shall  not  come  into  condemna- 
tion, but  hath  passed  from  death  to  life.'  All  this  is  ai)plied  by  Christ 
to  those  that  really  submit  to  his  covenant ;  but  in  a  different  manner 
they  all  pass  from  death  to  life.  First,  Partly  as  their  hearts  are 
changed,  which  is  sometimes  called  a  quickening  of  the  dead,  a  new 
begetting,  a  new  creating.  Sometimes  it  is  called  a  quickening,  a 
making  men  that  were  dead  alive :  Eph.  ii.  5,  'Yet  now  hath  he  quickened 
us  together  with  Christ.'  Therefore  when  they  are  converted  or  regen- 
erated, they  are  said  to  be  alive  from  the  dead,  Kom.  vi.  13.  It  is  also 
called  a  new  begetting,  or  a  new  birth,  without  which  none  can  enter 
into  heaven  :  John  iii.  5,  '  Verily,  verily,  I  say  unto  thee,  Except  a  man 
be  born  of  water  and  the  Spirit,  he  cannot  enter  into  the  kingdom  of 
God.'  Making  us  new  creatures  :  Eph.  iv.  24,  'And  that  ye  put  on  the 
new  man,  which  after  God  is  created  in  righteousness  and  trueholiness;' 
2  Cor.  v,  17,  '  He  that  is  in  Christ  is  a  new  creature  :  old  things  are 
passed  away,  and  all  things  are  become  new.'  From  all  which  itfoUoweth, 
that  conversion  is  a  brin^rinsr  us  into  a  new  state  of  life.  Life  is  a 
power  to  move  itself  in  its  own  place.  Tins  new  power  and  new  Jile 
is  therefore  a  great  privilege.  Secondly,  Partly  as  their  slates  are 
changed,  and  so  sometimes  the  privative  part  is  expressed,  '  shall  not 
come  into  condemnation,'  John  v.  24,  and  Ptom.  viii.  1.  The  sentence 
of  eternal  death  is  taken  off.  But  tliat  is  not  all,  but  they  have  a  cove- 
nant right  unto  eternal  life  :  Rom.  v,  18,  '  The  free  gift  came  upon  all 
men,  to  the  justification  of  life.'     But  this  is  done  in  a  different  manner, 

116  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XX. 

the  one  by  his  Spirit,  the  other  by  his  new  covenant  gift.  The  one  by 
his  Spirit :  2  Peter  i.  3,  '  By  his  divine  power  hath  given  us  all  things 
necessary  to  life  and  godliness.'  Therefore  Christ  is  said  to  be  our  life, 
Gal.  ii.  20.  The  other  by  his  free  donation,  or  grant,  or  deed  of  gift. 
In  the  covenant  he  granteth  us  to  be  heirs  of  eternal  life,  pardoning 
our  sins,  and  removing  out  of  the  way  what  may  hinder  the  enjoyment 
of  it.  Sanctification  is  wrought  in  us ;  justification  is  God's  act 
towards  the  sanctified  :  1  Cor.  vi.  11,  '  But  ye  are  justified  in  the  name 
of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  sanctified  by  the  Spirit  of  our  God.' 
Justified  in  the  name  of  Christ  according  to  his  terms,  and  what  way 
Christ  is  made  known  in  the  new  covenant. 

4.  From  the  whole,  it  may  be  well  said  of  those  who  are  interested, 
that  they  are  passed  from  death  to  life  ;  for  the  life  of  grace  is  begun 
in  them,  as  they  have  new  principles  and  powers  infused,  or  gracious 
qualities  planted  in  the  soul :  Ezek.  xxxvi.  26,  27,  '  A  new  heart  also 
will  I  give  you,  and  a  new  spirit  I  will  put  within  you ;  and  I  will 
take  away  the  stony  heart  out  of  your  flesh,  and  give  you  a  heart  of 
flesh.  And  I  will  put  my  Spirit  within  you,  and  cause  you  to  walk  in 
my  statutes  ;  and  ye  shall  keep  my  judgments,  and  do  them.'  And 
these  continually  acted  and  excited  by  the  influence  of  the  Holy  Spirit, 
who  watcheth  over  the  new  creature.  And  as  they  have  a  right  to  glory : 
Titus  iii.  5-7,  '  Not  by  works  of  righteousness  which  we  have  done, 
but  according  to  his  mercy  he  saved  us,  by  the  washing  of  regenera- 
tion, and  the  renewing  of  the  Holy  Ghost ;  which  he  hath  shed  on  us 
abundantly  through  Jesus  Christ  our  Saviour,  that,  being  justified  by 
his  grace,  we  should  be  made  heirs  according  to  the  hope  of  eternal  life.' 
And  as  they  are  accompanied  with  peace  of  conscience,  and  joy  unspeak- 
able and  glorious,  surely  these  are  in  a  happy  condition  ;  and  we  should 
give  all  diligence  to  see  that  it  be  our  condition,  that  they  who  were  dead 
in  trespasses  and  sins,  born  heirs  of  God's  curse,  should  have  a  new  life 
communicated  to  them,  and  heavenly  qualities  planted  in  them,  where- 
by the  soul  in  some  measure  is  made  like  God  and  Christ ;  and  whereas 
before  they  were  without  any  true  and  well-grounded  hope  of  a  better 
life,  whatever  foolish  and  groundless  presumptions  they  might  enter- 
tain, they  should  now  have  this  threefold  happiness.  First,  They  should 
be  dispositively  fitted  for  eternal  life :  2  Cor.  v.  5,  '  For  he  that  hath 
wrought  us  to  this  self-same  thing  is  God ; '  and  Kom.  ix.  23,  '  Pre- 
pared unto  glory  ; '  Col.  i.  12,  '  Hath  made  us  meet  to  be  partakers  of 
the  inheritance  of  the  saints  in  light'  Secondly,  Have  an  unquestion- 
able and  indefeasible  right,  by  the  grant  and  promise  of  God  :  John  v. 
24,  '  He  that  heareth  my  word,  and  believeth  on  him  that  sent  me,  hath 
everlasting  life,  and  shall  not  come  into  condemnation,  but  is  passed 
from  death  unto  life.'  Thirdly,  Have  the  earnest,  first-fruits,  or  begun 
possession  of  eternal  glory :  2  Cor.  i.  22,  '  Who  hath  sealed  us,  and 
given  us  the  earnest  of  the  Spirit.'  Partly  in  the  graces  and  partly  in 
the  comforts  of  the  Holy  Spirit.  The  graces  in  the  new  birth  :■  Titus 
iii.  5,  '  According  to  his  mercy  he  saved  us,  by  the  washing  of  regen- 
eration, and  the  renewing  of  the  Holy  Ghost.'  The  immortal  seed,  1 
Peter  i.  23.  Saving  knowledge,  John  xvii.  3.  There  is  an  eternal 
principle  in  them,  which  carrieth  them  to  eternal  ends.  The  life  is  begun 
which  shall  be  perfected  in  heaven,  and  is  still  working  towards  its  final 

YeR.   14]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  117 

perfection.  As  to  comforts,  in  peace  of  conscience,  and  joy  in  the  Holy 
Ghost,  by  which  we  have  a  foretaste  :  Eora.  xv.  13, '  The  God  of  hope  fill 
you  with  all  joy  and  peace  in  believing  ; '  1  Peter  i.  8,  '  In  whom  be- 
lieving, we  rejoice  with  joy  unspeakable  and  glorious.'  Surely  of  all 
privileges  this  is  the  principal  and  the  choicest,  which  can  be  given  us  on 
this  side  heaven,  and  should  be  most  rejoiced  in  and  endeavoured  after. 

Secondly,  What  love  of  the  brethren  is  here  to  be  understood  ;  for 
I  have  observed  that  many  will  retreat  to  this  evidence,  as  if  this 
single  and  alone  would  witness  their  gracious  estate,  when  they  are 
grossly  defective  in  other  things.  In  my  dealings  with  the  consciences 
of  men,  I  have  observed  several  of  the  fallacies  and  cheats  which  men 
have  put  upon  themselves ;  sometimes  in  the  object  of  this  love, 
'  brethren.'  If  they  have  a  love  to  their  own  sect  and  party,  though 
they  hate  all  the  world  besides,  and  are  unconscionable  in  their  deal- 
ings, and  loose  and  uncircumspect  in  their  walkings,  yet  still  they  have 
satisfied  their  consciences  with  this,  that  they  love  the  brethren ;  and 
this  must  bolster  them  up,  and  support  their  confidence,  notwithstand- 
ing all  their  other  enormities.  Sometimes  I  have  observed  it  to  be  in 
the  affection  itself ;  they  call  that  love  to  the  brethren  which  is  not.  We 
may  do  many  things  which  materially  are  acts  of  love  to  the  brethren, 
but  flow  from  false  principles,  as  good  nature,  vainglory,  gallantry. 
Some  are  of  a  soft  and  quiet  temper,  not  difficult  to  any,  but  of  a  fair, 
loving  carriage  and  behaviour ;  and  shall  their  natural  easiness  be 
taken  for  this  high  and  special  grace  of  love  to  the  brethren  ?  Some  will 
seem  to  do  great  and  worthy  things,  but  it  is  out  of  greatness  of  spirit 
and  vainglory,  without  true  charity  and  love  to  the  brethren,  without 
that  love  which  the  apostle  mentions,  1  Cor.  xiii.  3,  '  If  I  give  all  my 
goods  to  the  poor,  and  give  my  body  to  be  burned,  and  have  not 
charity,  it  profits  me  nothing.'  This  love  is  something  more  than 
giving,  something  more  than  venturing  our  interests ;  for  charity,  or 
christian  love,  containeth  in  it  a  sincere  respect  to  God's  glory,  and  a 
hearty  desire  of  promoting  the  kingdom  of  Christ,  and  a  holy  com- 
placency in  those  who  are  our  companions  in  the  kingdom  and 
patience  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  shall  be  our  everlasting  companions  in 
heavenly  glory,  together  with  a  public  good-will  and  compassion  to  the 
souls  of  men.  Some  I  have  found  will  go  lower,  and  maintain  their 
comfort  at  a  meaner  rate ;  they  are  not  those  that  hate  the  brethren, 
and  procure  their  molestation  and  trouble,  but  it  may  be  frequent  their 
meetings,  applaud  their  persons,  can  now  and  then  plead  for  them,  and 
censure  and  speak  against  those  that  hate  them  :  and  here  is  their 
evidence ;  how  defective  soever  they  are  in  other  parts  of  Christianity, 
they  think  they  love  the  brethren.  But  not  to  insist  further,  I  am 
verily  persuaded  that  if  this  one  evidence  were  well  thought  of  and 
understood,  it  were  of  as  hard  interpretation  as  any  of  the  rest.  There- 
fore let  us  see  what  this  love  of  the  brethren  is,  that  will  be  such  a  sure 
note  unto  us. 

1.  It  must  be  a  real  love,  not  pretended  only,  or  showed  in  bare 
words;  for  so  it  is  explained,  ver.  18,  'My  little  children,  let  us  not  love 
in  word,  or  in  tongue,  but  in  deed  and  in  truth.'  Verbal  compliments 
may  make  up  a  love  and  friendshij)  in  the  world,  but  christian  love  is 
u  knitting  of  souls,  or  a  communication  of  interests,  as  our  mutual 

118  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III,  [SeR.  XX. 

necessities  do  require :  Kom.  xii.  10,  'Be  kindly  affectioned  one  to 
another,  in  brotherly  love.'  If  there  be  not  a  hearty  real  christian 
affection,  what  will  words  do?  Alas!  will  you  build  your  eternal 
state  on  such  a  weak  foundation,  or  all  your  comfort  and  hope  on  so 
slight  an  evidence  ?     A  cold  compliinental  love  is  soon  worn  off. 

2.  It  must  be  a  self-denying  love,  for  it  is  hated  brethren  who  are 
here  spoken  of  as  the  objects :  '  Marvel  not  if  the  world  hate  you ; ' 
and  then,  '  We  know  we  have  passed  from  death  unto  life,  because  we 
love  the  brethren,'  If  we  can  love  them  then  when  the  world  hateth 
them  ;  yea,  if  we  can  love  them  so  as  to  lay  down  our  lives  for  them 
when  the  glory  of  God  and  the  public  good  calleth  for  it :  ver.  16, 
'  Hereby  perceive  we  the  love  of  God,  because  he  hath  laid  down  his 
life  for  us,  and  we  ought  to  lay  down  our  lives  for  the  brethren.'  In 
what  cases  I  shall  show  you  afterwards.  Now  such  a  regular  and 
fervent  love  will  make  an  evidence.  It  is  self-denying  graces  that  have 
a  voice  in  the  conscience  ;  when  we  so  love  the  brethren  that  we  are  at 
some  cost  about  them,  taking  pains  to  instruct  the  ignorant,  comforting 
the  afflicted,  exhorting  the  Obstinate,  confirming  the  weak,  relieving 
the  necessitous,  owning  the  persecuted,  this  showeth  God's  love  hath 
made  some  impression  upon  us.  The  acts  about  which  we  shall  be 
questioned  at  the  day  of  judgment  are  self-denying  acts.  Have  you 
visited,  have  you  clothed,  do  you  own  the  servants  of  God  when  the 
times  frown  upon  them  ?  Lip-labour  and  tongue-service  is  a  cheap 
thing,  and  a  religion  that  costs  nothing  is  worth  nothing.  When  we 
apparently  deny  ourselves,  and  value  God's  interest  and  his  people's 
interest  above  our  own,  then  our  sincerity  is  most  manifest.  A  cheap 
course  of  serving  God  or  loving  the  brethren  will  bring  you  none  or  little 
comfort ;  and  therefore,  when  you  tell  me  you  love  the  brethren,  and 
do  nothing  for  them,  you  may  as  well  tell  me  that  you  have  satisfied 
your  creditors  by  shaking  your  purse,  as  if  the  noise  of  money  would 
pay  your  debts. 

3.  A  sincere  love  flowing  from  communion  of  nature,  and  because  of 
the  new  nature,  and  because  of  the  image  of  God  in  them  whom  ye 
love.  Love  is  a  fruit  of  the  new  nature,  and  none  can  sincerely  love 
his  brother  with  a  supernatural  sincerity  but  he  that  is  renewed  by  the 
Spirit :  1  Peter  i.  22,  '  Seeing  ye  have  purified  your  hearts  in  obeying 
the  truth  through  the  Spirit,  unto  unfeigned  love  of  the  brethren ; 
see  that  ye  love  one  another  with  a  pure  heart  fervently.'  To  love  one 
because  he  is  holy,  and  because  he  is  sanctified,  because  he  hath  the 
same  spirit,  that  is  to  love  one  another  with  a  pure  heart.  We  may 
love  godly  men  for  other  respects  than  godliness,  but  we  must  love 
them  as  having  a  nature  suited  to  this  love. 

4.  It  must  not  be  understood  as  separated  from  other  qualifications 
which  prepare  us  for  everlasting  life ;  we  cannot  make  out  our  sincerity 
by  one  evidence  alone,  no,  not  faith  itself:  James  ii.  14,  'Can  faith 
save  him  ? '  that  being  alone,  ver.  17.  Still  it  will  stick  in  our 
consciences :  James  ii.  10,  '  He  that  keepeth  the  whole  law,  and  yet 
offends  in  one  point,  is  guilty  of  all.'  It  is  a  law  maxim  if  interpreted 
of  absolute  perfection  or  unsinning  obedience,  but  it  is  a  gospel  maxim 
if  understood  of  allowed  failings.  Therefore,  when  you  read  such 
scriptures  as  '  Hereby  we  know  that  we  are  passed  from  death  to  life, 
because  we  love  the  brethren/  and  '  He  that  calleth  upon  the  name 

YeR.  14.]  SEKMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  119 

of  the  Lord  shall  be  saved,'  they  must  be  understood  positis  omnibus 
ad  hoc  requisitis,  if  other  things  hold  good.  Certainly  for  this  place  you 
shall  see  1  John  v.  2,  '  By  this  we  know  that  we  love  the  children  of 
God,  when  we  love  God,  and  keep  his  commandments.'  He  proveth 
the  love  of  God  by  the  love  of  the  brethren,  and  the  love  of  the  brethren 
by  the  love  of  God.  There  is  a  mighty  conjunction  between  these 
two  things,  loving  the  brethren  and  loving  God ;  and  therefore, 
if  we  would  know  if  we  love  our  brother  sincerely,  yea  or  no,  we  can- 
not better  judge  of  it  than  by  examining  and  knowing  whether  we  love 
God ;  and  truly  our  love  to  God  is  not  a  fellow-like  familiarity,  but 
a  dutiful  subjection  :  '  If  we  love  God  we  will  keep  his  commandments.' 
So  that,  in  the  trial  of  our  estate,  we  must  take  in  all  that  is  necessary 
for  the  decision  of  the  case.  I  observe  this,  because,  next  to  the  grace 
of  the  gospel,  men  are  apt  to  abuse  this  evidence.  Some  look  to  none 
at  all,  others  pitch  all  upon  this  one.  But  you  see  plainly  it  must  be 
interpreted  so  as  that  you  love  God  first,  and  then  the  brethren  for 
God's  sake ;  and  the  intent  of  these  evidences  is  to  show  we  must  not 
in  any  point  be  lacking. 

Thirdly,  Let  me  consider  it  as  laid  down  as  a  sure  note  and  evidence 
of  our  passing  from  death  to  life;  and  there  we  shall  consider — (1.) 
Why  so  much  is  ascribed  to  love  of  the  brethren  ;  (2.)  What  sort  of 
evidence  this  is. 

1.  Why  is  so  much  ascribed  to  the  love  of  the  brethren,  that  the 
decision  of  our  spiritual  estate  is  often  put  upon  this  issue,  whether  we 
love  the  brethren,  yea  or  no  ? 
Ans.  For  several  reasons. 

[1.]  Because  it  is  the  immediate  effect  of  the  new  nature  :  1  John 
iv.  7,  '  Beloved,  let  us  love  one  another,  for  love  is  of  God  ;  and  every 
one  that  loveth  is  born  of  God,  and  knoweth  God  ; '  and  1  John  v.  1, 
'  Whosoever  believeth  that  Jesus  is  the  Christ,  is  born  of  God;  and 
every  one  that  loveth  him  that  begat,  loveth  him  also  that  is  begotten 
of  him.'  Love  to  God  and  his  people  is  the  proper  effect  of  the 
spiritual  life  ;  that  same  new  nature  which  inclineth  us  to  love  God 
inclineth  us  to  love  the  brethren. 

[2.]  This  suiteth  most  with  the  great  love  which  God  discovereth 
in  the  gospel.  The  gospel  is  wholly  employed  in  setting  forth  the 
love  of  God  ;  we  see  his  power  more  eminently  in  the  creation  of  the 
world  :  Rom.  i.  20,  '  For  the  invisible  things  of  him  from  the  creation 
of  the  world  are  clearly  seen,  being  understood  by  the  things  that  are 
made.'  His  wisdom  in  the  law  :  Deut.  iv.  6,  'Keep  them,  for  this  is 
your  wisdom  and  understanding  in  the  sight  of  the  nations.'  And 
his  love  in  the  gospel :  Eom.  v.  8,  '  Herein  God  commended  his  love.' 
He  doth  indeed  discover  all  in  all,  but  eminently  one  in  each.  Now 
the  new  creature,  being  of  a  gospel  production,  hath  the  print  and 
stamp  thereof  left  upon  it,  for  the  thing  sealed  must  be  according  to 
the  seal :  love  is  his  very  nature. 

[3.]  Because  God  would  not  leave  the  trial  of  our  condition  upon 
an  imaginary  case,  and  remote  from  daily  experience.  We  pretend 
to  love  God,  and  to  have  a  zeal  for  God,  and  would  venture  all  our 
interests  for  God,  because  in  the  bountiful  part  God  hath  no  need  of 
us,  and  we  are  not  likely  to  be  put  upon  the  expressing  of  love  to  him 

120  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XX. 

ia  that  kind.  In  the  dutiful  part  of  obedience  we  are  daily  put  upon 
a  trial.  Now  in  the  bountiful  part  God  hath  made  our  brethi-en  his 
proxies,  and  devolveth  that  love  and  gratitude  due  to  himself  upon 
his  servants.  Hence  is  that  reasoning,  1  John  iv.  20,  '  He  that  loveth 
not  his  brother  whom  he  hath  seen,  how  can  he  love  God  whom  he 
hath  not  seen  ?  '  Men's  pretences  of  love  to  God  are  more  in  imagina- 
tion than  in  real  proof  and  performance  ;  here  we  have  occasion  often 
given  us  to  express  and  testify  our  love  by  real  effects ;  we  see  our 
brethren  daily,  we  know  their  necessities,  have  opportunities  of  sensible 
demonstrations  of  our  love.  Now  these  kind  acts  of  love  to  our 
brethren,  as  they  do  most  verify  and  justify  our  love,  so  they  are  most 
apparent  and  visible  to  our  own  feeling  and  experience. 

[4.]  Because  naturally  a  man  delights  in  that  company  which  is 
most  like  himself,  otherwise  he  is  more  straitened  and  restrained, 
cannot  so  freely  let  out  his  soul  ;  therefore  if  the  constitution  of  a 
man's  heart  be  altered,  he  will  show  it  in  his  complacency  and  dis- 
placency.  As  in  things  so  in  persons ;  there  is  a  kind  of  grief  and 
trouble  at  the  non-conversion  of  the  wicked  :  Ps.  xv.  4,  '  In  whose 
eyes  a  vile  person  is  contemned,  but  he  honoureth  those  that  fear  the 
Lord.'  He  hath  a  dislike  of  wickedness,  let  it  be  in  whomsoever  it 
will,  but  payeth  a  hearty  honour,  affection,  and  respect  to  every  good 
and  godly  man  ;  his  joy  and  delight  is  to  the  saints,  and  to  the 
excellent  of  the  eartli,  Ps.  xvi.  3.  '  Lot's  righteous  soul  was  vexed  by 
seeing  and  hearing  the  unlawful  deeds  of  the  Sodomites,'  2  Peter  ii.  8. 
A  good  man  is  never  so  well  as  in  the  company  of  those  that  fear  God  ; 
and  so  ill  at  ease  as  when  conversing  with  the  wicked  ;  therefore  it  is 
a  sensible  evidence. 

[5.]  In  obedience  to  God,  as  this  is  his  great  and  new  command- 
ment :  1  John  iii.  23, '  Love  one  another,  as  he  gave  us  commandment.' 
God's  love  is  a  love  of  bounty,  ours  a  love  of  duty. 

[6.]  Christ  delights  to  draw  his  people  into  a  societ}'',  therefore  he 
requireth  love,  and  maketh  love  the  great  evidence :  Col.  iii.  14,  '  And 
above  all  things  put  on  charity,  which  is  the  bond  of  perfection  ; '  an 
affection  whereby  we  desire  communion  one  with  another,  and  com- 
munication of  good  one  to  another  :  Acts  ii.  42,  '  And  they  continued 
steadfastly  in  the  apostles'  doctrine  and  fellowship;'  and  ver.  45, '  They 
parted  with  their  possessions  to  every  man  as  he  had  need.'  There- 
fore this  is  the  evidence  of  Christ's  disciples. 

[7.]  Christ's  heart  is  much  set  upon  the  good  of  this  society,  which 
is  preserved  by  love,  but  destroyed  by,  hatred  and  division.  Our  Lord 
Christ  foresaw  what  grievous  wolves  would  enter  into  the  flock,  to 
scatter  them,  and  to  destroy  them,  and  how  much  they  would  be 
weakened  by  their  own  divisions  ;  therefore  he  would  not  only  make 
it  his  command,  but  his  mark  ;  it  is  his  charge,  it  is  the  means  ap- 
pointed to  receive  the  blessing,  Ps.  cxxxiii.  3,  and  it  is  the  sign,  as  if 
Christ  would  not  take  them  for  friends,  but  enemies,  that  divide  his 
people,  that  do  not  by  all  means  and  ways  seek  to  unite  them,  and 
cause  them  to  love  one  another. 

[8.]  It  is  a  great  part  of  our  recovery  to  be  delivered  from  the 
private,  envious,  selfish  spirit  by  which  we  mind  our  own  things  and 
seek  our  own  things :  James  iv.  5,  '  The  spirit  that  dwelleth  in  us 

VeR.  14.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  121 

Insteth  to  envy;'  Titus  iii.  3,  'We  were  hateful  and  hating  one 
another.'  Now  since  it  is  so,  surely  we  have  passed  from  death  to  life, 
because  we  love  the  brethren. 

2.  What  sort  of  evidence  this  is.  It  is  both  inclusive  and  exclusive. 
There  are  some  marks  which  are  exclusive  but  not  inclusive  ;  that  is, 
if  we  have  them  not,  we  are  not  the  children  of  God  ;  but  if  we  have 
them,  we  cannot  say  we  are.  As,  for  instance, '  He  that  is  of  God  heareth 
God's  words ;  ye  therefore  hear  them  not,  because  ye  aie  not  of  God.' 
It  excludeth  the  profane;  yet  all  that  barely  hear  the  word  cannot  thence 
conclude  that  they  are  of  God,  for  many  hear  and  practise  not. 
Therefore  James  saith,  chap.  i.  22,  'Be  doers  of  the  word,  and 
not  hearers  only,  deceiving  your  own  souls.'  Again  some  are 
inclusive,  but  not  exclusive  ;  as  that,  Eom.  ix.  1,  3,  '  I  say  the  truth 
in  Christ,  I  lie  not,  my  conscience  also  bearing  me  witness  in  the  Holy 
Ghost,  that  I  could  wish  that  myself  were  accursed  from  Christ 
for  my  brethren  and  kinsiEen  according  to  the  flesh.'  Or  any  degree 
of  heroical  grace  ;  you  are  included  within  the  number  of  God's  children 
if  you  find  these  things  in  you,  but  not  excluded  if  you  find  them  not. 
These  are  marks  to  be  aimed  at,  but  not  to  try  by ;  otherwise  that 
would  be  matter  of  doubting  which  is  only  matter  of  humiliation. 
But  some  are  both  inclusive  and  exclusive ;  witness  the  text.  The 
first  proposition  showeth  it  is  inclusive,  '  We  know  we  have  passed  from 
death  unto  life.'  A  christian's  estate  may  be  known,  not  by  a  conjec- 
tural, but  a  certain  knowledge,  not  we  guess,  but  know ;  and  the  way 
of  knowing  it  is  by  the  evidences  of  grace,  or  finding  something  in  us 
which  accompanieth  salvation.  Our  sanctification  is  more  evident  to 
us  than  justification,  as  being  felt ;  and  among  the  fruits  and  effects 
of  sanctification,  love  to  the  brethren  is  one  sensible  evidence  from 
whence  we  may  conclude  safely  and  certainly,  '  That  we  have  passed 
from  death  unto  life.'  But,  on  the  other  side,  it  is  exclusive  also : 
'  If  any  man  love  not  his  brother,  he  abideth  in  death  ; '  is  yet  in  a 
state  of  sin  and  misery  ;  for  this  is  such  a  property  of  the  new  nature 
that  it  cannot  be  severed  from  it. 

Use.  Keep  this  evidence  clear,  then,  that  you  may  take  comfort  in 
your  condition.  It  is  for  our  greater  comfort,  not  only  to  be  safe,  but 
to  know  that  we  are  safe.  Some  have  salvation  belonging  to  them,  but 
they  know  it  not ;  as  Jacob  said  of  Bethel,  '  God  was  in  this  place,  and 
I  knew  it  not,'  Gen.  xxviii.  16  ;  so  God  is  in  them,  life  is  in  them, 
and  they  know  it  not.  Would  it  not  be  comfortable  to  you  if  you 
could  certainly  know  that  indeed  you  have  passed  from  death  to  life  ? 
I  know  not  what  your  minds  are  busied  about ;  but  this  should  be 
your  great  care,  to  get  out  of  the  cursed  condition  you  were  in  by 
nature,  and  to  know  you  are  gotten  out,  and  shall  not  come  into  con- 
demnation. Here  is  one  evidence  will  most  help  to  clear  it  to  you  :  If 
you  love  the  brethren,  you  have  passed  from  death  to  life ;  if  you  love 
not,  you  abide  in  death.  Therefore  let  not  this  mark  be  obscure  to 
you,  lest  your  spiritual  condition  be  dark  and  obscure  to  you  ;  and 
therefore  you  excel  in  brotherly  love,  and  exercise  it  in  a  self- 
denying  way.  (1.)  Love  the  bretliren  notwithstanding  their  infirmities ; 
(2.)  Love  the  brethren  notwithstanding  personal  injuries;  (3.)  Love 
the  brethren  notwithstandingparticular  differences  of  judgment  between 

122  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XX. 

ns  and  them  ;  (4.)  Love  them  notwithstanding  the  disgraces  and  troubles 
that  befall  them. 

1.  Love  the  brethren  notwithstanding  their  infirmities ;  the  best 
of  God's  servants  have  their  blots  and  failings,  but  love  must  cover 
them :  1  Peter  iv.  8, '  Above  all,  have  fervent  charity  among  yourselves ; 
for  charity  covereth  a  multitude  of  sins/  You  must  not  expect  such 
a  society  of  God's  people  to  converse  with,  in  whom  you  shall  not  dis- 
cern any  failings,  either  against  God  or  one  another  ;  therefore  unless 
you  pass  by  a  multitude  of  those,  it  is  in  vain  to  think  of  loving  the 
brethren.  Our  love  to  the  brethren  must  answer  to  God's  love  to  us : 
'  We  must  forgive  one  another,  even  as  God  for  Christ's  sake  hath 
forgiven  us,'  Eph.  iv.  32  ;  '  Now  the  free  gift  is  of  many  offences  unto 
justification,'  Rom.  v.  16.  Therefore  if  we  cast  off  a  brother  for  some 
few  infirmities,  it  is  a  sign  that  the  love  of  God,  manifested  in  the 
gospel,  hath  not  made  a  due  impression  upon  us.  Shall  God  pardon 
so  many  sins  to  us  and  all  his  people,  and  shall  we  be  so  severe  upon 
every  espied  failing  as  to  question  their  spiritual  estate,  and  cast  them 
out  of  our  hearts  ? 

2.  Love  them  notwithstanding  some  personal  injuries  done  to  our- 
selves. When  God  forgiveth  us  talents,  shall  not  we  forgive  pence  to 
our  brother  ?  Mat.  xviii.  24,  '  And  when  he  had  begun  to  reckon,  one 
was  brought  unto  him  which  owed  him  ten  thousand  talents ; '  ver. 
28, '  But  the  same  servant  went  out,  and  found  one  of  his  fellow-servants 
which  owed  him  an  hundred  pence,  and  he  laid  hands  on  him,  and 
took  him  by  the  throat,  saying,  Pay  me  what  thou  owest.'  A  talent 
was  a  hundred  and  eiglity-seven  pounds,  and  sevenpence  halfpenny  the 
Roman  penny ;  ten  thousand  pounds  for  a  hundred.  They  cannot 
deal  so  disingenuously  with  us  as  we  do  with  God.  If  God  will  forgive 
us  a  thousand  injuries,  shall  not  we  forgive  one  ?  We  are  poor  dust  and 
ashes  ;  shall  we  stand  upon  our  anger,  as  if  it  might  be  justified  against 
our  brother,  rather  than  God's  anger  against  us  ? 

3.  Love  them  notwithstanding  particular  differences  of  judgment 
between  us  and  them  ;  though  they  are  not  of  our  society,  if  they  will 
not  carry  themselves  brotherly,  we  should  love  them  as  brethren  as  long 
as  they  have  anything  of  Christ  in  them.  The  perverse  and  harsh  deal- 
ings of  others  do  not  dissolve  our  obligation  to  them,  as  to  superiors, 
parents,  and  masters ;  we  are  to  be  obedient,  not  only  to  the  gentle, 
but  to  the  froward.  So  to  equals,  though  they  disclaim  all  fellowship 
with  us,  yet  we  should  carry  it  towards  them  as  christians  ;  a  difference 
of  opinion  should  not  breed  an  alienation  of  mind.  The  apostle's  rule 
is,  Phil.  iii.  16,  17,  '  Nevertheless,  whereto  we  have  attained,  let  us 
walk  by  the  same  rule,  let  us  mind  the  same  thing  ; '  Rom.  xiv.  5-7, 
'  One  man  esteemeth  onedayabove  another ;  another  man  esteemeth  every 
day  alike :  let  every  man  be  fully  persuaded  in  his  own  mind.  He  that  re- 
gardeth  a  day,  regardeth  it  unto  the  Lord;  and  he  that  regardeth  not  the 
day,  to  the  Lord  he  doth  not  regard  it :  he  that  eateth,  eateth  unto  the 
Lord,  for  hegiveth  God  thanks  ;  and  he  that  eateth  not,  to  the  Lord  he 
eateth  not,  and  giveth  God  thanks.  For  none  of  us  liveth  to  himself,  and 
no  man  dieth  to  himself.'  We  should  never  differ  from  any  without  con- 
straining evidence. 

4.  Love  them  notwithstanding  the  dissrraces  and  troubles  that  befall 

VeR.  15.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  123 

tliem;  the  primitive  christians  owned  one  another  going  to  the  fires, 
though  thereby  they  incurred  present  danger  to  themselves,  and  were 
made  companions  of  them  that  were  so  used,  Heb.  x.  33. 


Whosoever  Jiateth  his  hrofher  is  a  murderer  ;  and  ye  know  that  no 
murderer  hath  eternal  life  abiding  in  him. — 1  John  ill.  15. 

The  apostle  had  said,  '  He  that  loveth  not  his  brother  abideth  in  death.' 
Now  he  goeth  on  to  another  degree,  '  He  that  hateth  his  brother  is  a 
murderer.'  It  is  less  not  to  love  than  to  hate ;  he  that  loveth  not 
wisheth  neither  good  nor  evil  to  his  brother;  he  that  hateth  intendeth 
mischief.  Selfishness  and  want  of  love  will  in  time  produce  great 
mischiefs,  as  it  tendeth  to  ambition  and  covetousness,  and  thence  to 
cruelty  against  all  that  stand  in  the  way  of  their  desires  ;  but  hatred 
doth  soon  commence  mischief.  Therefore  surely  if  he  that  loveth  not 
his  brother  '  abideth  in  death,'  then  he  that  hateth  his  brother  '  hath 
not  eternal  life  abiding  in  him  ; '  the  subject  more,  the  predicate  less. 
Again,  this  clause  is  added  lest  any  should  say,  I  do  not  slay  my  brothei*, 
as  Cain  did,  yet  he  may  be  a  murderer  before  God  ;  he  hath  killed  his 
brother  in  his  heart,  though  not  with  his  hand  ;  he  desireth  his  death, 
or  doth  not  take  it  very  grievously  if  he  die :  '  Whosoever  hateth  his 
brother,'  &c. 

In  the  words  there  are  three  things — (1.)  A  sin,  'Hating  our 
brother;'  (2.)  The  heinousness  of  that  sin,  'Is  a  murderer  ; '  (3.)  The 
perniciousness  and  danger  of  it,  '  Hath  not  eternal  life  abiding  in 

Doct.  1.  That  hatred  of  our  brother  is  in  Gods  account  murder. 

I  shall  show  you — 

1.  What  is  hatred  of  our  brother. 

2.  How  it  is  murder,  and  so  how  he  that  hateth  his  brother  is  a 

I.  What  is  the  hatred  of  our  brother?  This  needeth  to  be  stated. 
That  we  may  find  out  the  sin  so  branded,  let  us  except  what  is  to  be 

1.  There  is  an  absolute  hatred  and  a  comparative.  The  absolute 
liatred  is  when  I  wish  evil  to  another  ;  the  comparative  hatred  is  when 
I  neglect  or  show  less  love  to  another  for  some  greater  good.  So 
Jacob  is  said  to  hate  Leah,  Gen.  xxix.  30,  31.  Hatred  there  imports 
a  lesser  degree  of  love.  So  in  the  law  of  the  hated  wife :  Dent.  xxi. 
15, 16, '  If  a  man  hath  two  wives,  one  beloved,  and  another  hated.'  It 
is  not  meant  of  one  that  was  not  loved  at  all,  but  of  one  that  was  not 
loved  so  much  as  the  other.  So  in  the  case  in  hand  :  Luke  xiv,  26, 
'  If  any  man  hate  not  father  and  mother,  brothers  and  sisters,  he  can- 
not be  my  disciple ;'  that  is,  doth  not  prefer  Christ  before  them.  Surely 
this  hatred  of  our  brother  is  not  here  meant,  for  this  is  piety,  and  ncit 

124  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  IH.  [SeR.  XXI. 

cruelty.     The  best  objects  are  worthy  of  our  best  love,  and  our  respect 
to  the  inferior  relations  must  not  be  a  snare  to  us. 

2.  There  is  a  hatred  of  the  sins  and  evil  courses  wherein  our  brother 
walketh,and  notof  hisperson;  aswe  must  not  love  the  sin  forthe  person's 
sake,  so  we  must  not  hate  the  person  for  the  sin's  sake.  We  may  cross  his 
sin,  but  we  must  wish  well  to  the  person.  It  is  hatred  to  the  person 
to  let  him  alone  in  his  sin :  Lev.  xix.  17,  '  Thou  shalt  not  hate  thy 
brother  in  thy  heart ;  thou  shalt  in  any  wise  rebuke  him,  and  not  suffer 
sin  upon  him.'  We  cannot  but  hate  what  we  see  evil  in  him  ;  this  is 
not  a  mischievous,  but  a  holy  and  perfect  hatred.  When  we  reprove 
the  person,  seek  to  oppose  and  disappoint  him  in  his  way  of  living  in 
sin,  this  may  be  the  greatest  love  we  can  express  to  him  ;  and  when- 
ever his  conscience  is  awakened,  he  will  thank  us  for  it. 

3.  There  is  odium  abominationis  and  odium  inimicitice,  the  hatred 
of  abomination  and  the  hatred  of  enmity  ;  the  one  is  opposite  to  the 
love  of  good-will,  the  other  to  the  love  of  complacency  :  Prov.  xxix.  27, 
'  The  righteous  is  an  abomination  to  the  wicked,  and  the  wicked  is  an 
abomination  to  the  righteous.'  The  righteous  man  hateth  not  the 
wicked  with  the  hatred  of  enmity,  so  as  to  seek  his  destruction,  but 
with  the  hatred  of  abomination  or  offence,  so  as  not  to  delight  in  him 
while  wicked.  In  opposition  to  the  love  of  complacency,  we  may  hate 
our  sinful  neighbour,  as  we  must  hate  and  abhor  ourselves  much  more  ; 
but,  in  opposition  to  the  love  of  benevolence,  we  must  neither  hate  our 
enemy,  nor  our  neighbour,  nor  ourselves  ;  so  we  are  to  love  ourselves 
without  desiring  mischief  to  them.  So  David  :  Ps.  xxi.  5, '  I  hate  the 
congregation  of  evil-doers,  and  will  not  sit  with  the  wicked.'  Surely 
we  cannot  delight  in  them  as  suitable  to  us,  nor  frequent  their  company, 
unless  it  be  in  order  to  their  cure.  God,  that  distinguished  the  seeds, 
Gen.  iii.  15,  never  intended  to  make  men  of  contrary  dispositions  to 
holiness  to  be  our  bosom  friends  and  the  objects  of  our  delight. 
Therefore  this  hatred  is  not  intended  neither.  Only  we  must  take 
heed  lest  our  abomination  of  them  for  their  evil  practices  do  not 
degeneiate  into  a  destructive  enmity  to  them.  We  have  a  nature  con- 
trary to  theirs,  but  we  must  not  have  a  heart  set  to  do  them  evil. 

Object.  But  what  will  you  say  of  Paul's  wish,  Gal.  v.  12,  '  I  would 
they  were  even  cut  off  that  trouble  you  ?  '     I  answer — 

[1.]  He  speaketh  of  prime  seducers,  and  wisheth  they  were  cut  off  from 
the  church  by  the  sentence  of  excommunication;  and  incorrigible  and 
obstinate  offenders  are  cut  off  from  the  body  and  society  of  the  faithful 
'  for  the  destruction  of  the  flesh,  that  their  spirit  may  be  saved  in  the 
day  of  the  Lord,'  1  Cor.  v.  5,  6,  and  the  church  be  not  infected  by  the 
contagion  of  their  sin.     So  the  words  signify  in  the  ancient  use  of  it. 

[2.]  That  malicious  and  obstinate  perverters  of  the  faithful  come 
imder  another  consideration,  of  which  I  shall  now  speak.  We  must 
distinguish  of  those  who  are  enemies,  not  only  to  us,  but  to  God  him- 
self, and  that  not  out  of  ignorance,  but  malice,  implacable  enemies ; 
we  may  desire  their  destruction,  but  with  great  caution,  and  using 
much  lenity  and  forbearance  ere  we  make  use  of  this  liberty :  so  David  : 
Ps.  cxxxix.  21,  22,  'Do  not  I  hate  them  that  hate  thee?  and  am  I  not 
grieved  with  them  that  rise  up  against  thee  ?  I  hate  them  with  a  per- 
fect hatred;  and  count  them  mine  enemies.'     This  is  but  zeal  in  God's 

YeR.  15.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  125 

cause,  to  pray  for  their  destruction  in  any  undertaking  against  God. 
But  then  we  must  be  sure  we  are  not  inspired  with  a  false  zeal,  and 
that  this  fire  be  enkindled  from  a  coal  taken  from  the  altar,  not  from 
any  private  hearth  and  kitchen  ;  and  that  it  be  against  the  irrecon- 
cilable enemies  of  Christ's  interest  in  the  world,  and  that  it  be  not 
animated  with  private  revenge.  Surely  all  this  must  be  excepted  out 
of  this  heavy  charge. 

II.  Let  us  state  the  sin  here  mentioned.  (1.)  Consider  the  object, 
'  Our  brother  ; '  (2.)  The  affection  or  passion  forbidden,  '  Hatred.' 

First,  For  the  object,  '  Our  brother,'  which  may  be  taken — 

1.  In  a  general  sense,  for  any  of  mankind,  for  by  right  of  nature 
they  are  our  brethren.  They  are  called  our  own  flesh,  Isa.  Iviii.  7,  and 
we  all  come  of  one  blood  and  stock  :  Acts  xvii.  26,  '  He  hath  made  of 
one  blood  all  nations  of  men  to  dwell  on  the  face  of  the  earth.'  And 
we  are  all  made  by  one  God  :  Mai.  ii.  10,  '  Hath  not  one  God  created  ns  ? 
and  have  we  not  all  one  Father  ?  '  Now  we  are  not  to  hate  any  in  our 
hearts,  but  by  all  ways  and  means  to  seek  their  good  and  welfare.  We 
must  love  in  them  that  which  is  of  God,  though  we  hate  in  them  that 
which  is  of  the  devil. 

2.  In  a  special  and  limited  sense,  our  brother  is  our  fellow-citizen, 
whether  in  reality  or  profession  only.  With  respect  to  them,  love  is 
called  brotherly  kindness,  in  opposition  to  that  common  love  which  is 
due  to  all  men,  2  Peter  i.  7  ;  and  the  nearer  the  bonds  are,  the  greater 
is  the  sin  if  we  hate  them  ;  as  when  united  with  us  in  the  same  common 
profession  of  purer  Christianity,  or  give  greater  hopes  of  their  sincerity 
therein,  or  of  the  same  profession,  society,  and  local  communion,  as  to 
the  worship  of  God,  or  related  to  us  in  bonds  of  nature  as  well  as 
religion,  as  Esau  hated  Jacob,  Gen.  xxvii.  41.  The  rule  is,  1  Peter  ii. 
17,  '  Honour  all  men,  love  the  brotherhood.'  There  is  some  respect 
due  to  all  men,  much  more  should  christian  society  recommend  them 
to  our  affection.  All  men  partake  of  some  excellency  from  God,  and 
carry  some  resemblance  of  his  image,  and  the  best  know  more  to  loathe 
in  themselves  than  they  can  do  in  the  worst ;  yet  there  is  a  respect  due 
to  the  persons  of  other  christians  above  that  which  we  give  to  men 
as  men. 

Once  more,  the  persons  hated  come  under  a  fourfold  considera- 

[1.]  If  you  consider  them  as  those  that  have  done  us  an  ill  turn  ; 
thus  we  read,  2  Sam.  xiii.  22,  that  '  Absalom  hated  Amnon,  because 
lie  had  forced  his  sister  Tamar;'  and  therefore  plotted  to  kill  him. 
Now  this  doth  not  excuse  us,  because  we  are  not  to  avenge  ourselves, 
and  become  evil  to  others  because  they  have  been  so  to  us  ;  this  were 
to  imitate  them  in  their  wickedness,  and  it  is  contrary  to  that  lenity 
and  meekness  which  should  be  in  christians,  who  are  to  love  those  that 
hate  them.  Mat.  v.  44 ;  and  if  love  did  prevail,  much  mischief  would 
be  prevented :  Prov.  x.  12,  '  Hatred  stirreth  up  strifes,  but  love  cover- 
eth  all  sins.'  Where  hatred  is  allowed,  every  offence  will  be  grievous  ; 
there  is  nothing  but  an  interchange  of  mutual  injuries,  till  one  or  the 
other  be  ruined  or  destroyed.  But  if  men  would  mind  the  duties  of 
christian  love,  lenity,  and  forbearance ;  many  and  great  offences  would 
be  eitiier  excused  or  pardoned.     This  is  not  pusillanimity,  but  true 

126  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR,  XXI. 

<;reatness  of  spirit,  tlie  real  glory  of  a  man ;  and  indeed  it  can  be  no 
disgrace  to  obey  God, 

[2.]  When  we  hate  one  that  loveth  ns,  and  liath  been  kind  to  us. 
To  hate  an  enemy  is  unchristian,  but  to  hate  a  friend  is  inhuman ;  and 
yet  such  monsters  dotii  corrupt  nature  afford,  who  reward  evil  for  good, 
and  hate  others  without  a  cause,  yea,  when  much  cause  to  the  contrary  : 
Ps.  XXXV.  12,  '  They  rewarded  me  evil  for  good,  to  tlie  spoiling  of  my 
soul.'  Usually  those  who  are  over-obliged  make  this  unkind  return, 
injuries  for  benefits,  and  seek  the  life  of  those  who,  under  God,  have 
been  the  means  of  supporting  and  preserving  theirs.  Now  this  is  a 
grievous  unnatural  evil,  and  their  malice  admitteth  no  terms  of  truce, 
much  less  of  hearty  reconcilement :  Ps.  cxx.  6,  7,  '  My  soul  hath  too 
long  dwelt  with  liim  that  hateth  peace.  I  am  for  peace  ;  but  when  I 
speak,  they  are  for  war.'  Still  prosecute  tlieir  revengeful  courses,  and 
will  not  be  appeased  by  any  tenders  of  reconciliation. 

[3.]  When  men  are  haters  of  those  that  are  good,  and  love  the  evil, 
hate  the  holy  and  tlie  harmless,  and  esteem  only  the  profane  and  disso- 
lute :  2  Tim.  iii.  3,  '  Despisers  of  those  that  are  good  ;'  and  Ps.  xxxviii. 
20,  '  They  are  mine  adversaries,  because  I  follow  the  thing  that  good 
is  ; '  Mat.  xxiv.  9, '  Ye  shall  be  hated  of  all  nations  for  my  name's  sake.' 
They  have  no  quarrel  against  them  but  their  doing  that  which  is  good. 
Alas  !  what  have  the  righteous  done  ?  for  which  good  work  do  they  lay 
Kuch  a  load  on  them  ?  But  the  better  any  man  is,  the  less  they  can 
abide  him  ;  and  this  is  a  heinous  evil,  to  hate  a  christian  the  more,  the 
more  of  Christianity  there  is  in  him.  It  is  enmity  to  the  image  of  God 
shining  ibrth  in  his  people,  and  they  cannot  endure  this  serious  good 
conversation  of  theirs,  because  it  is  an  upbraiding  of  their  own  slight- 
Kess  and  licentiousness. 

[4.]  When  we  hate  them  not  only  that  are  good,  but  with  all  pity 
and  compassion  seek  to  do  us  good :  Gal.  iv.  16,  'Am  I  become  your 
enemy  because  I  tell  you  the  truth  ?  '  John  vii.  7,  *  The  world  hateth 
me,  because  I  testify  of  it  that  the  works  thereof  are  evil ; '  1  Kings 
xxii.  8,  '  I  hate  him,  because  he  doth  not  prophesy  good  concerning 
me,  but  evil'  Yet  he  told  him  still  the  mind  of  God,  and  that  for  his 
profit.  Now  this  is  the  hatred  that  usually  befalls  not  private  christians 
only,  but  those  that  are  employed  in  a  more  eminent  ministry  and 
service  ;  often  instruments  of  public  good  are  made  objects  of  public 
hatred,  and  have  no  other  recompense  from  an  unthankful  world  but 
scorn  and  violence. 

Secondly,  The  passion  forbidden  is  diatred,  '  Whosoever  hateth  his 

1.  Not  to  love  him  is  a  great  crime  ;  that  is  the  notion  in  the  former 
verse  ;  and  indeed  it  is  hard  to  keep  without  hatred,  if  we  do  not  love. 
The  softest  sort  of  carnal  men  do  not  love  God's  children ;  but  the 
venomous  part  of  the  world  hate  them,  and  seek  their  destruction.  Not 
to  will  good  to  them  is  damnable  in  itself,  much  more  when  we  will 
evil  to  them :  2  Tim.  iii.  3,  '  Despisers  of  those  that  are  good,'  not 
lovers  ;  these  are  in  a  fair  way  to  hate  when  their  lusts  are  crossed. 

2.  There  is  another  degree,  and  that  is,  rash  and  unadvised  anger : 
'  Whosoever  is  angry  with  his  brother  without  a  cause,'  Mat.  v.  22 ; 
and  that  is  within  the  prohibition,  '  Thou  shalt  not  kill,' as  more  anon. 

VeR.  15.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  127 

Now  if  anger  be  murder,  hatred  is  worse  than  anger,  for  this  is  anger 
inordinate  or  inveterate.  The)''  were  wont  to  distinguish  of  a  threefold 
anger  :  sharp  anger,  soon  raised  and  soon  cahued ;  a  more  bitter  anger, 
hardly,  and  not  without  some  respite,  appeased ;  and  anger  not  allayed 
without  some  requital  and  retaliation  of  wrongs  ;  this  is  a  great  step 
towards  hatred. 

3.  There  is  another  affection  and  disposition  of  heart  which  is  very 
natural  to  us,  and  yet  is  beneath  malice  and  hatred,  and  that  is  envy, 
often  joined  with  murder  :  Kom.  i.  29,  'Full  of  envy,  murders;'  Gal. 
V.  29,  '  Envyings,  murders.'  This  is  discontentedness  at  another  man's 
good  and  prosperous  estate,  or  the  gifts  wherein  they  equal  or  excel  us, 
and  showeth  itself  in  rejoicing  at  their  evils.  There  is  a  selfish  desire 
in  man  to  have  all  good  things  enclosed  unto  ourselves  :  James  iv.  5, 
'  The  spirit  that  dwelleth  in  us  lusteth  to  envy.'  We  would  shine  alone, 
seek  to  jostle  others  oiit  of  the  way ;  tliis  is  bad,  and  hath  a  near 
affinity  with  murder,  and  therefore  should  be  mortified  by  every  good 

4.  The  passion  here  spoken  of  is  hatred,  which  is  a  desire  of  hurt  or 
evil  to  others,  such  a  desire  as  wisheth  evil  to  them,  especially  their 
destruction  and  ruin,  that  the  object  should  not  be  :  Ps.  xxxv.  12, 
'  They  rewarded  me  evil  for  good,  to  the  spoiling  of  my  soul.'  Nothing 
less  will  content  them  that  hate  us ;  as  Esau,  that  '  hated  Jacob,  and 
said,  I  will  slay  him  when  the  days  of  mourning  for  my  father  are 
come,'  Gen.  xxvii.  41.  so  that  hatred  or  anger  kept  too  long  will  be 
concocted  and  soared  into  revenge. 

Thirdly,  How  is  it  murder  ? 

1.  From  the  strictness  of  God's  law.  Man's  law  can  only  take  notice 
of  the  overt  act,  but  God's  law  of  the  thoughts,  imaginations,  pur- 
poses, and  intents  of  tlie  heart.  It  is  said,  Kom.  vii.  14,  '  The  law  is 
spiritual ; '  and  Ps.  xix.  7, '  The  law  of  God  is  perfect,  converting  the  soul.' 
It  reacheth  to  the  acts  of  the  inward  man,  and  forbids  every  evil  motion 
of  the  heart.  God  is  able  to  judge  of  their  hearts  ;  and  every  degree 
of  this  sin  is  forbidden  and  condemned  by  his  law  :  1  Sara.  xvi.  7, 
'  Man  looketh  upon  the  outward  appearance,  but  the  Lord  looketh  on 
the  heart.'  And  therefore  it  is  not  the  hurting  of  our  neighbour,  but 
tlie  hating  of  our  neighbour,  which  his  law  condemneth.  It  doth  not 
only  concern  the  hands,  and  the  outward  actions,  but  the  will  and  the 

2.  From  the  intention  of  the  party.  The  purpose  or  desire  of  doing 
a  thing  is  connted  in  the  law  as  done, either  good  or  bad.  As  to  good, 
Abraham's  offering  Isaac:  Heb.  xi.  11,  'By  faith  Abraham  offered  up 
Isaac'  He  did  it  only  in  purpose  and  vow.  Bad  :  Mat.  v.  28,  '  He 
that  looketh  upon  a  woman  to  lust  after  her,  hath  committed  adultery 
with  her  in  his  heart.'  So  here,  the  intention  of  the  heart  to  harm 
others,  though  the  hands  be  tied  and  kept  from  execution,  yet  as  much 
as  in  him  lieth  he  hath  murdered  liis  neighbour.  If  he  abstain  from 
killing,  he  will  rejoice  that  the  death  of  that  man  happeneth  some  other 
way.  Well,  then,  the  hating  is,  by  interpretation,  the  killing  of  them, 
because  such  is  the  intention  of  the  heart,  did  not  some  outward  re- 
straint curb  it,  if  their  destruction  be  a  pleasing  thought  to  us. 

3.  God  judgeth  not  only  by  the  intention  of  the  party,  but  the  intent 

128  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXI. 

of  the  sin.  There  is  finis  opei'is,  and  finis  operantis,  the  intendment 
of  the  sinner,  and  the  intent  of  the  sin,  what  it  may  bring  us  unto  if  it 
be  allowed.  It  may  be  a  man  that  hateth  his  brother  doth  not  intend 
for  the  present  his  utter  destruction  ;  but  if  he  shall  cherish  this  evil 
disposition  of  soul,  where  shall  he  stop?  Now,  that  God  judgeth  by 
the  intent  of  the  sin,  as  well  as  the  actual  intention  of  the  sinner,  I  shall 
make  evident  unto  you  by  these  instances.  By  Baruch's  reproof :  Jer. 
xlv.  5, '  Seekest  thou  great  things  for  thyself  ?  Seek  them  not.'  Baruch's 
sin  was  tergiversation,  he  had  appeared  confidently  at  first  in  delivering 
the  roll  to  the  king,  which  was  Avritten  by  God's  command  ;  but  when 
the  king  burnt  it,  and  gave  order  to  apprehend  Jeremiah  and  Baruch,but 
God  hid  them,  afterwards  God  bids  them  write  another  roll,  and  Baruch 
begins  to  be  discouraged,  it  was  too  hot  service  for  him  to  meddle  with  ; 
upon  which  God  telleth  him,  '  Seekest  thou  great  things  for  thyself?  ' 
When  God  was  about  to  pluck  up  all  things,  alas  !  what  did  the  good 
man  seek  for  himself,  but  only  that  he  might  have  his  life  for  a  prey  ? 
Baruch  only  sought  his  safety  and  the  preservation  of  his  life,  which 
was  in  danger  by  reason  of  his  zeal  and  activity  for  God ;  and  God  calleth 
this  a  seeking  great  things  for  himself.  The  meaning  is,  that  disposition 
of  heart  which  prompted  him  to  seek  ease  and  security  for  himself  in 
troublesome  times  would  prompt  him  also  to  seek  great  things  in  the 
world  ;  for  it  argued  a  spirit  wedded  to  its  own  worldly  felicity,  and 
that  preferred  the  favour  of  kings  before  the  favour  of  God.  Every  man 
thus  affected  seeketh  his  own  things  ;  at  first  he  aimeth  only  at  things 
which  are  within  his  grasp  and  reach,  but  then  still  he  enlargeth  him- 
self, and  would  have  more,  and  when  that  is  obtained,  he  would  have 
more,  and  fain  be  built  a  storey  higher  in  the  honour  and  greatness  of 
the  world.  Thus  doth  God  interpret  the  disposition  of  his  heart,  in 
seeking  to  save  his  life,  by  not  displeasing  the  king.  Another  instance 
is  Elisha's  reproof  to  Gehazi :  2  Kings  v.  26,  '  Is  it  a  time  to  receive 
money,  and  to  receive  garments,  and  oliveyards  and  vineyards,  and 
sheep,  and  oxen,  and  men-servants,  and  maid-servants  ? '  Why  this 
i-ebuke  ?  what  is  the  sense  of  it  ?  He  asked  no  such  matter  of  Naaman, 
he  asked  but  a  talent  of  silver  and  two  changes  of  raiment,  2  Kings  v. 
23.  But  the  same  covetousness  and  self-seeking  would  carry  him 
further.  The  prophet  dealeth  upon  the  full  end  of  the  sin.  He  was 
weary  of  being  the  prophet's  man,  and  must  set  up  for  himself;  he 
must  then  enlarge  himself  into  a  family,  and  purchase  heritages,  and 
be  a  great  man  in  Israel.  The  beginnings  of  sin  are  modest,  and  the 
issues  not  known  or  thought  of  by  the  sinner  himself.  Now  apply  this 
to  the  matter  in  hand  ;  a  njan  that  beginneth  to  have  an  aversion  of 
heart  to  another,  he  doth  not  love  him  ;  in  time  he  cometli  to  hate  him, 
and  there  thinketh  to  rest ;  but  offences  grow,  and  then  he  seeketh  his 
destruction.  Now  God  considereth  the  tendency  of  the  sin,  whatever 
be  the  actual  intention  of  the  sinner. 

4.  I  need  but  one  consideration  more  to  make  the  demonstration  full, 
and  what  is  that  ?  It  is  that  the  usual  effects  of  hatred  are  blood  and 
mischief ;  thence  come  the  factions,  and  quarrels,  and  persecutions,  and 
contentions  in  the  world.  Once  entertain  hatred,  and  there  is  nothing 
so  bad,  and  mischievous,  and  cruel,  which  you  may  not  be  drawn  to 
think,  and  say,  and  do  against  your  brethren.     To  think  :  jealousy  is 

VeR.  15.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  129 

the  fruit  of  b.itred,  everything  is  suspected  wliere  the  party  is  not  loved, 
yea,  odious  crimes  are  supposed  and  imagined  of  them,  and  they  think 
they  do  God  good  service  if  they  kill  them,  John  xvi.  2.  They  do 
only  destroy  you  as  so  many  vermin,  which  are  the  trouble  of  the 
countr}'.  So  for  saying  :  Luke  vi.  22,  '  Blessed  are  ye  when  men  shall 
hate  you,  and  shall  reproach  you,  and  cast  out  your  name  as  evil,  for 
ray  name's  sake.'  Do,  by  persecution  :  John  v.  19,  20, '  Because  I  have 
chosen  you  out  of  the  world,  the  world  shall  hate  you,  and  persecute  you, 
as  they  persecuted  me.'  And  treachery  :  Mat.  xxiv.  10^  '  And  many 
shall  be  offended  in  me,  and  betray  one  another,  and  hate  one 
another.'  These  are  the  mischievous  effects  of  hatred.  Well,  then, 
may  it  be  accounted  murder,  and  he  that  hateth  is  a  manslayer  or 

Use  1.  Is  information — 

1.  It  showeth  us  the  reason  why  divines  refer  all  sins  and  virtues 
to  the  commandments,  wherein  the  grossest  sin  of  the  kind  is  forbidden 
in  the  name  of  all  the  rest.  You  think  we  strain  when  we  make 
anger  to  be  murder  or  the  like  ;  but  we  have  countenance  from  scrip- 
ture, and  we  have  the  example  of  our  Lord  Jesus.  I  will  only  instance 
in  a  pertinent  case  :  Mat.  v.  20,  21,  '  Ye  have  heard  it  hath  been  said 
of  them  of  old.  Thou  shalt  not  kill ;  and  whosoever  shall  kill  shall  be 
in  danger  of  the  judgment ;  but  I  say  unto  you,  That  whosoever  is 
angry  with  his  brother  without  a  cause  shall  be  in  danger  of  the  judg- 
ment ;  and  whosoever  shall  say  to  his  brother,  Baca,  shall  be  in  danger 
of  the  council ;  but  whosoever  shall  say.  Thou  fool,  shall  be  in  danger 
of  hell  fire.'  A  place  somewhat  difficult,  but  I  shall  make  no  long  busi- 
ness to  explain  it.  Christ  doth  not  enlarge  the  commandment  of  God 
given  by  Moses,  but  interpret  it,  and  vindicate  from  the  glosses  of  the 
pharisees ;  for  they  were  their  masters  in  the  schools  who  lived  before 
Christ.  They  thought  the  law  was  not  broken  but  by  actual  man- 
slaughter or  murder  ;  for  Christ  doth  not  reason  against  the  letter 
of  the  law,  '  Thou  shalt  not  kill,'  but  against  their  gloss,  '  Whosoever 
shall  kill.'  And  the  following  words  express  three  degrees  of  sin  and 
three  degrees  of  punishment,  alluding  to  their  ways  of  punishing.  The 
three  degrees  of  sin  are  rash  anger,  anger  vented  by  contumelious 
speeches  :  '  Kaca,'  a  vain  man  ;  '  Thou  fool,'  a  wicked  man.  Their 
jmnishments  were  either  of  the  three-and-twenty  men  who  judged  of 
manslaughters,  or  of  the  Sanhedrim,  who  judged  of  more  heinous 
crimes;  or  of  burning  alive,  which  was  their  highest  punishment ;  and 
in  the  expression  he  alludeth  to  the  valley  of  Hinnom,  where  children 
were  scorched  to  death.  Now  the  wrathful  man  is  subject  to  punish- 
ment in  another  world,  as  the  manslayer  is  here  by  the  judgment,  which 
is  beheading  with  the  sword.  Anger  breaking  out  into  opprobrious 
speeches  by  the  Sanhedrim,  where  ordinary  punishment  was  by  stoning ; 
'  Thou  fool,'  more  violent  railings  and  revilings,  with  burning  as^  of 
the  children  in  the  valley  Hinnom.  So  that  all  these  things,  which 
tend  to  murder,  are  murder  in  the  sight  of  God,  and  must  expect  his 
punishment.  A  great  caution  to  us,  in  these  contentious  times,  to  take 
heed  how  we  involve  ourselves  in  the  wrath  of  God. 

2.  That  it  is  good  to  refer  sin  to  the  most  odious  of  its  kind,  and 
to  interpret  the  law  of  God  in  its  most  comprehensive  sense.     Carnal 

VOL.  XXI.  I 

130  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SkR.  XXI. 

men  are  but  slight  interpreters  of  God's  law ;  tliat  the  ell  may 
be  no  longer  than  the  cloth,  they  make  a  short  exposition  of  the 
law,  that  they  may  cherish  a  large  opinion  of  their  own  righteousness ; 
but  in  the  word  of  God  we  are  directed  otlierwise.  Covetousness  is 
idolatry,  as  it  diverts  our  trust  in  God,  Col.  iii.  5.  Sensuality  is  set- 
ting up  another  god,  as  it  diverteth  our  love  from  him  :  Phil,  iii.  19, 
*  Whose  god  is  their  bell}'.'  Neglect  of  communion  with  God  is 
atheism,  Ps.  x.  3 ;  and  worldliness  is  adultery,  James  iv.  4 ;  and  here 
hatred  of  the  brethren  is  murder.  And  there  is  a  double  profit  by  it 
— it  serveth  for  an  evangelical  use  and  a  moral  use. 

[1.]  It  serveth  for  an  evangelical  use,  to  quicken  us  to  seek  after 
justification  by  way  of  faith  and  repentance  ;  for  though  we  have  not 
been  guilty  of  gross  immoralities,  we  are  not  murderers,  adulterers,  yet 
we  cannot  trust  in  our  own  righteousness.  We  are  in  danger  of  the 
judgment  or  the  council  for  rash  anger,  hatred,  malice,  revenge,  seek- 
ing or  wishing  mischief  to  others.  There  is  no  relief  to  be  looked  for 
in  God's  strict  justice  from  the  smallness  of  our  sins ;  our  hope  standeth 
only  in  the  fulness  of  Christ's  ransom,  and  the  largeness  of  his  grace 
in  the  new  covenant,  which  alloweth  room  for  repentance.  Thus  the 
severe  exaction  of  the  law  doth  drive  us  to  Christ. 

[2.]  The  second  use  is  moral,  to  make  us  hate  sin.  Oh,  how  care- 
fully should  we  abstain  from  all  indulgence  to  the  beginnings  of  it ! 
In  mortifying  sin,  let  us  not  weigh  things  in  man's  balance,  but  in 
God's,  and  not  consider  what  is  hateful  to  the  world,  but  how  things 
will  appear  before  God's  tribunal.  There  are  sins  majoris  infamice 
and  majoris  reatus.  Some  sins  procure  their  own  shame  in  the  world, 
but  others  argue  a  greater  aversion  of  heart,  and  enmity  to  God  and 
his  people.  Many  of  sin's  martyrs,  that  aie  publicly  executed  for  the 
warning  of  others,  are  less  hateful  to  God  than  others  whom  he 
hangeth  up  in  chains  of  darkness  as  the  instances  of  the  slavery  of  sin, 
being  wholly  addicted  to  pleasures,  profits,  and  honours. 

3.  It  teacheth  us  that  sin  originally  cometh  from  the  heart  and  inner 
man  ;  for  hatred  is  murder,  that  is,  the  seed  of  it ;  and  what  would  it 
produce  were  it  not  for  the  restraints  of  providence  ?  Mat.  xviii.  19. 
How  watchful  should  we  be  over  our  hearts  !  Prov.  iv.  23,  '  Keep  thy 
heart  with  all  diligence,  for  out  of  it  are  the  issues  of  life ; '  and  over 
the  first  risings  of  sin  there,  that  we  may  not  give  place  to  the  devil, 
Eph.  iv.  27.  Judas  had  never  betrayed  his  Lord  if  he  had  crushed 
covetousness  in  the  egg  ;  many  had  never  dipped  their  hands  in  blood, 
if  they  had  smothered  their  envy  and  hatred  as  soon  as  it  began  to  arise 
in  them.  It  is  wiser  to  keep  from  the  first  degrees,  for  by  yielding  to 
them  we  run  into  further  degrees  of  sin.  How  humble  should  we  be  ! 
Oh,  what  monsters  lurk  in  the  heart  of  man  !  Jer.  xvii.  4,  '  Wash  thy 
heart  from  wickedness.'  We  would  not  think  so  if  the  word  or 
experience  did  not  discover  it.  What  a  foul  stomach  have  they  that 
vomit  up  nothing  but  knives,  and  daggers,  and  instruments  of  destruc- 
tion ! 

Use  2.  Is  to  press  us  to  beware  of  this  sin,  the  hatred  of  our 

1.  It  is  such  a  sin  as  is  brought  for  one  instance  of  the  corruption  and 
degeneration  of  human  nature,  Titus  iii.  3.   We  are  all  hateful  to  God, 

VeR.  15.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  131 

and  5'et  we  hate  one  another,  that  one  man  is  as  a  wolf  to  another, 
seeking  to  devour  or  undermine  one  another. 

2.  It  is  not  such  a  sin  as  shall  have  its  pardon  of  course,  with  our 
ordinary  failings  and  frailties.  No ;  it  is  represented  as  one  of  the 
heinous  transgressions  of  the  law,  'murder ; '  such  sins  as  are  quite  con- 
trary to  the  evangelical  state :  they  have  '  not  eternal  life  abiding  in 
them ; '  that  is,  life  spiritual,  which  is  eternal  life  begun  :  Gal.  v.  21, 
'  They  which  do  such  things  shall  not  inherit  the  kingdom  of  God ; ' 
and  Eph.  v.  6,  '  Let  no  man  deceive  you  with  vain  words ;  for  because 
of  these  things  cometh  the  wrath  of  God  upon  the  children  of  disobedi- 
ence.' Those  that  impenitently  live  in  them  shall  be  eternally  damned  ; 
where  they  are  harboured,  they  leave  an  incapacity  upon  us  of  entering 
into  the  kingdom  of  God  till  solemnly  and  expressly  repented  of. 

3.  It  is  a  sin  that  is  contrary  to  the  evangelical  temper,  as  well  as 
to  the  evangelical  state  ;  it  is  contrary  to  that  meekness,  patience,  and 
forgiving  one  another,  peaceableness,  love,  which  is  so  frequently  and 
expressly  required  of  christians  ;  for  Christianity  is  an  art  of  loving  God 
and  his  people  :  1  Cor.  xvi.  14,  '  Let  all  your  things  be  done  with 
charity  ; '  1  Peter  iv.  8,  '  Above  all  things,  have  fervent  charity  among 
yourselves.'  Love  is  the  chief  duty  we  owe  both  to  God  and  our 
neighbour.  Next  to  our  love  to  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  love  to  his 
people  ought  to  be  studied  above  other  things  ;  .therefore  certainly 
they  should  keep  free  of  malice  and  hatred  one  of  another. 

4.  When  you  live  in  hatred  one  to  another,  you  cannot  offer  any 
acceptable  sacrifice  to  God.  When  Christ  had  discoursed  concerning 
rash  anger  and  opprobrious  speeches  to  our  brother,  he  saith,  Mat.  v. 
23,  24,  'If  thou  bring  thy  gift  to  the  altar,  and  there  rememberest  that 
thy  brother  hath  aught  against  thee,  leave  there  thy  gift  before  the 
altar,  and  go  thy  way,  and  first  be  reconciled  to  thy  brother,  and  then 
come  and  offer  thy  gift ; '  and  in  his  prayer.  Mat.  vi.  12,  '  Forgive  us 
our  debts,  as  we  forgive  our  debtors.'  Otherwise  we  cannot  pray  to 
the  God  of  love  witii  any  confidence :  1  Tim.  ii.  8,  '  I  will  that  men 
pray  everywhere,  lifting  up  holy  hands,  without  wrath  and  doubting.' 
It  spoiletli  our  access  to  God,  1  Peter  iii.  7. 

5.  Till  you  get  rid  of  this  distemper  a  man  is  strangely  blinded  and 
perverted  in  the  course  of  his  walking,  all  christian  practice  obstructed  : 
1  John  ii.  11,  '  But  he  that  hateth  his  brother  is  in  darkness,  and 
walketh  in  darkness,  and  knoweth  not  whither  he  goeth,  because  that 
darkness  hath  blinded  his  eyes  ; '  that  is,  he  is  more  easily  involved 
in  sin  and  error,  and  raistaketh  his  way,  or  hath  not  a  heart  to  walk  in 
it.  He  wanted  his  true  measures,  love  to  God  and  his  people,  both 
which  make  him  wise  in  spiritual  things. 

Second  point.  Now  I  come  to  the  perniciousuess  and  danger  of 
this  sin,  '  No  murderer  hath  eternal  life  abiding  in  him.'  I  shall  clear 
it  by  these  considerations — 

1.  That  it  is  a  blessed  thing  to  have  eternal  life  abiding  in  us  before 
we  enter  into  the  i)os.se8sion  of  it.  This  will  appear  sufficiently  by 
explaining  the  terms,  what  it  is  to  have  eternal  life,  and  then  what  it 
is  to  have  it  abiding  in  us. 

[1.]  What  is  it  to  have  eternal  life  ?  It  is  to  have  a  right  to  it  by 
a  new  covenant  grant :  1  John  v.  12,  '  He  that  hath  the  Sou  hath  life, 

132  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III,  [SeR.  XXL 

and  he  that  hath  not  the  Son  hath  not  life.'  He  hath  a  stated  right, 
and  well  secured,  as  firm  as  God's  covenant  can  make  it ;  a  right 
pleadable  before  the  tribunal  of  God :  1  John  v.  24,  '  He  that  believeth 
on  the  Sou  hath  eternal  life,  and  shall  not  come  into  condemnation.' 

[2.]  To  have  it,  is  firmly  to  believe  it,  and  hope  and  look  for  it : 
Heb.  xi.  1,  '  Now  faith  is  the  substance  of  things  hoped  for,  the 
evidence  of  things  not  seen.'  Faith  giveth  to  its  object  presence  and 
evidence.  As  it  is  substance,  so  it  is  equal  to  present  subsistence  ; 
as  it  is  an  evidence,  so  it  is  equal  to  visibility ;  it  is  present  to  our  view 
and  sight  in  point  of  truth,  to  our  affections  in  point  of  worth. 

[3.]  To  have  it  abiding  in  us  is  to  have  it  begun  in  the  spiritual  life. 
The  spiritual  life  is  an  introduction  to  this  life  of  glory.  There  is  an 
eternal  principle  in  our  hearts ;  therefore  grace  is  called  an  immortal 
or  incorruptible  seed,  1  Peter  i.  23.  There  is  an  eternal  principle  put 
into  them,  to  carry  them  to  eternal  ends.  The  life  is  begun,  and  is 
still  working  towards  its  final  perfection.  Nothing  is  perfected  in 
heaven  but  what  is  begun  here  upon  earth.  It  is  an  earnest  to  show 
liow  sure,  2  Cor.  i.  22,  the  first-fruits,  to  show  how  good,  Eom.  viii.  23. 
The  comforts  of  the  Spirit  are  some  foretastes  of  the  sweetness  which 
is  in  heaven.  It  is  also  a  disposition  ;  it  doth  qualify  and  prepare  us 
for  glory:  Col.  i.  12,  '  Who  hath  made  us  meet  to  be  partakers  of  the 
inheritance  of  the  saints  in  light;'  and  Kom.  ix.  23,  'Prepared  unto 
glory.'  As  their  natures  are  more  a,nd  more  renewed  and  purified,  and 
more  dispositively  fitted. 

2.  This  is  the  privilege  of  the  true  believer,  and  none  else ;  for  it  is 
expressly  said,  John  iii.  36,  '  He  that  believeth  on  the  Son  hath  ever- 
lasting life ;  and  he  that  believeth  not  the  Son  shall  not  see  life,  but 
the  wrath  of  God  abideth  on  him.' 

3.  None  is  a  true  believer  but  he  that  loveth  God  above  all,  and  his 
people  for  God's  sake  ;  for  true  faith  worketh  by  love.  Gal.  v.  6,  and 
the  great  commands  of  the  gospel  are  faith  in  Christ,  and  love  to  one 
another:  1  John  iii.  23,  'And  this  is  his  commandment,  that  we 
should  believe  on  the  name  of  his  Son  Jesus  Christ,  and  love  one 
another,  as  he  gave  commandment.' 

4.  Therefore  those  that  live  in  the  allowed  hatred  of  their  brethren 
are  cut  off  from  all  those  privileges ;  they  have  not  a  right  to  God's 
covenant,  for  they  are  not  sound  believers ;  they  have  no  true  faith  and 
hope  concerning  the  world  to  come,  for  then  they  would  prepare  more  for 
it;  for  our  certain  and  desirous  expectation  of  the  promised  glory  is  seen 
in  our  seriousness,  diligence,  and  watchfulness  against  sin.  They  have 
not  the  beginnings  of  heaven  in  their  souls,  because  they  have  not  the 
divine  nature,  which  is  love ;  yea,  they  cherish  that  which  destroy eth 
Ihe  power  and  forfeits  the  comforts  of  the  spiritual  life,  hatred,  which 
is  the  satanical  nature,  and  utterly  contrary  and  inconsistent  with  the 
divine  and  heavenly  life. 

VeR,  16.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  IIL  131: 


Hereby  perceive  loe  the  love  of  God,  becmcse  he  laid  doion  his  life 
for  us :  and  we  ought  to  lay  down  our  lives  for  the  brethren. — 
1  John  iii.  16. 

The  apostle  having  instanced  in  the  lowest  act  of  love,  not  hating  our 
brother,  and  destroying  the  life  of  another,  as  Cain  did ;  now  he 
Cometh  to  instance  in  the  highest  act  of  love,  laying  down  our  own 
lives  for  the  brethren.  Lest  by  the  former  discourse  he  should  seem 
to  beat  down  the  price  of  love  too  low  in  the  world,  he  seeketli  here  to 
advance  it  again.  A  christian  should  be  so  far  from  destroying  the 
life  of  another,  that  he  should  venture  his  own,  '  Hereby  perceive  we 
the  love  of  God,'  &c. 

In  the  words  observe  two  things — (1.)  An  instance  of  God's  love; 
(2.)  The  inference  of  duty  drawn  from  thence. 

First,  The  instance  of  God's  love,  *  Hereby  perceive  we  the  love  of 
God,  because  he  laid  down  his  life  for  us.' 

1.  The  phrase  of  laying  down  of  life  imports  his  deatli  was  not 
forced,  but  he  yielded  to  it  by  a  voluntary  submission  ;  so  it  is  explained, 
John  X.  17,  18,  '  I  lay  down  my  life,  that  I  may  take  it  again.  No 
man  taketh  it  from  me,  but  I  lay  it  down  of  myself :  I  have  power  to 
lay  it  down,  and  have  power  to  take  it  again.' 

2.  For  us  ;  not  only  for  our  good,  but  in  our  place  and  room  : 
John  X.  15,  '  I  lay  down  my  life  for  my  sheep.' 

3.  Hereby  perceive  we  the  love  of  God.  Here  is  love  testified  by 
some  notable  effect  and  fruit.  Love  lieth  hidden  in  the  breast  of  those 
that  love,  but  it  is  visibly  known  and  seen  by  the  effects.  We  perceive 
it  was  a  true,  real,  effectual  love ;  not  a  well-wishing  only,  or  a  kind 
affection  arising  in  the  heart,  and  there  resting,  but  a  love  breaking 
out  into  action,  and  evidencing  itself  by  some  act  becoming  such  a 

Doct.  That  Christ  laying  down  his  life  for  us  was  a  pregnant  proof 
and  great  demonstration  of  his  love  to  us. 

To  evidence  this  I  shall  prove  these  things — 

First,  That  love  was  the  bosom-cause,  spring,  and  rise  of  all  that 
Christ  did  for  us,  and  that  which  did  set  on  work  the  whole  business  of 
our  recovery  to  God.  This  is  often  noted  in  the  scripture,  whether 
you  consider  the  act  of  God  or  Christ:  John  iii.  16,  '  God  so  loved  the 
world  that  he  gave  his  only-begotten  Son.'  So  Christ:  Gal.  ii.  20,  'Who 
loved  me,^and  gave  himself  for  me;'  Eph.  v.  25,  'He  loved  the  church, 
and  gave  himself  for  it ; '  Rev,  i.  5,  '  He  hath  loved  us,  and  washed  us 
in  his  blood  from  our  sins.'  Love  is  the  inward  moving  cause,  and 
our  misery  is  the  outward  occasion  which  moved  him  to  do  so.  The 
nature  of  love  is  telle  amati  bonum,  to  desire  the  good  of  the  party 
loved.  That  this  was  the  first  rise  is  evident,  because  we  can  give 
reasons  of  other  things,  but  we  can  give  no  reason  of  his  love.  Why 
did  he  employ  so  much  wisdom  and  goodness  and  power,  and  make  such 
a  deal  of  do  to  save  a  company  of  poor  forlorn  creatures  ?  He  loved  us. 
But  why  did  he  love  us  ?     Because  he  loved  us.     It  was  not  necessity 

134  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXII. 

of  nature,  as  fire  burnetii  because  it  can  do  no  otherwise.  It  was  the 
error  of  a  great  philosopher  to  say,  that  the  first  cause  did  work  out  of 
mere  necessity,  and  that  what  he  doth  he  must  needs  do.  No ;  Grod 
is  a  free  agent ;  he  might  have  left  us  remediless,  and  in  everlasting 
misery ;  but  out  of  his  self-inclination,  and  according  to  his  own  heart, 
he  hath  done  us  good,  though  he  might  have  chosen  whether  he  would 
or  no.  It  was  opus  liheri  consilii,  but  God  would  restore  us,  and  that 
in  the  best  way. 

Secondly,  It  was  God's  end  to  carry  on  the  way  of  our  salvation  in 
such  a  manner  as  might  commend  his  love  to  sinners :  Rom.  v.  8, 
'  But  God  commended  his  love  towards  us,  in  that,  while  we  were  yet 
sinners,  Christ  died  for  us.'  There  was  power  discovered  in  the 
creation,  when  God  made  us  like  himself  out  of  the  dust  of  the 
ground ;  but  love  in  our  redemption,  when  he  made  himself  like  us. 
He  revealeth  his  glorious  majesty  in  the  highest  heavens ;  in  hell  his 
fearful  justice  ;  his  wise  and  powerful  providence  throughout  the  whole 
world ;  his  gracious  love  and  mercy  to  his  church  and  people.  All 
things  in  God  are  infinite,  but  the  effects  of  his  love  are  more  wonder- 
ful than  any  of  his  attributes  ;  there  he  hath  gone  to  the  uttermost. 
He  hath  no  better  thing  to  give  us  than  himself,  his  Christ  and  his 
Spirit.  He  never  showed  so  much  of  his  wisdom  but  he  can  show 
more ;  but  how  can  he  show  more  of  his  love  to  us  than  he  hath 
shown  ?  He  hath  not  another  Christ  to  die  for  us,  nor  a  better 
saviour  to  bestow  upon  us,  nor  a  better  salvation  to  offer  to  us. 

Thirdly,  That  the  course  which  God  took  doth  fully  suit  with  his 
end,  which  was  a  full  and  clear  demonstration  of  his  love,  as  will 
appear  by  these  circumstances — 

1.  The  person  who  was  to  work  out  our  deliverance  was  the  eternal 
Son  of  God.  We  need  no  other  proof  than  this  very  text  we  have  in 
hand,  *  Hereby  perceive  we  the  love  of  God,  because  he  laid  down  his 
life  for  us.'  He  that  is  God  did  this  for  us  ;  Jesus  Christ,  'who  is 
God  over  all,'  Rom.  ix.  5.  Now  that  God,  who  is  the  absolute  Lord 
of  all  things,  and  can  do  with  us  what  he  pleaseth  ;  God,  that  oweth 
nothing  to  any  man,  that  was  so  much  offended  with  man  ;  God,  that 
stood  in  no  need  of  us,  as  having  infinite  happiness  and  contentment 
within  himself,  that  he  should  show  so  much  love  as  to  come  and  die 
for  us,  '  Hereby  perceive  we  the  love  of  God.'  When  we  consider 
what  Christ  is,  we  shall  most  admire  what  he  hath  done  for  us.  For 
creatures  to  be  kind  to  one  another  is  not  so  great  a  matter,  for  every 
one  hath  need  of  another.  The  world  is  upheld  by  a  combination  of 
interests,  as  the  stones  in  an  arch  ;  the  head  cannot  say  to  the  foot,  I 
have  no  need  of  thee  ;  the  prince  standeth  in  need  of  the  peasant,  as 
well  as  the  peasant  of  the  prince.  But  God  standeth  in  no  need  of  us  : 
'  He  is  not  worshipped  with  men's  hands,  as  if  he  needed  anything,' 
Acts  xvii.  25.  We  need  his  blessing,  but  he  doth  not  need  our  service 
to  support  his  being  and  dignity  or  increase  his  happiness.  When 
Christ  was  in  the  state  of  humiliation,  he  was  subject  to  wants  as  we 
are ;  as  when  they  loosed  the  foal  whereon  he  was  to  ride  up  to  Jeru- 
salem, they  were  to  answer.  Mat.  xxi.  3,  '  The  Lord  hath  need  of  him.' 
But  it  was  otherwise  with  Christ  as  God,  which  we  now  speak  of.  As 
God,  he  needed  not  the  being  of  man  or  angel ;  or  else  why  did  he  not 

VeR  16.]   .         SERMONS  UrON  1  JOHN  III.  135 

make  the  world  and  things  therein  sooner,  that  he  might  be  sooner 
happy  ?  Again,  as  man,  he  was  to  be  in  subjection  :  '  For  being 
made  of  a  woman,  he  was  made  under  the  law/  Gal.  iv.  4 ;  and 
as  mediator  he  had  a  commandment :  John  x.  18,  '  This  comraand- 
mant  I  received  of  my  Father/  But  as  the  second  person  in  the 
trinity,  he  is  one  God  with  the  Father,  as  undivided  in  nature  and 
essence  ;  so  of  the  same  liberty,  authority,  and  power  :  Phil.  ii.  6,  '  He 
thought  it  no  robbery  to  be  equal  with  God.'  The  angels  were  cast 
out  of  heaven  for  robbery,  for  usurping  divine  honour ;  but  Christ  was 
not  thrust  down  for  robbery  and  usurpation,  but  came  down  out  of 
love  and  voluntary  condescension  to  die  for  us.  Sometimes  Christ's 
death  is  made  an  act  of  obedience,  sometimes  an  act  of  love :  Rom.  v. 
19,  'By  the  obedience  of  one  many  shall  be  made  righteous.'  So  Phil, 
ii.  8,  '  He  became  obedient  to  death,  even  the  death  of  the  cross.' 
With  res})ect  to  his  Father's  command,  it  was  an  high  act  of  obedience, 
the  like  of  which  cannot  be  done  by  man  or  angel,  carried  on  with  such 
humility,  patience,  self-denial,  resignation  of  himself  to  God,  charity 
and  pity  toward  us.  But  considering  the  dignity  of  his  person,  all  was 
purely  an  act  of  love  ;  and  the  more  love  because,coming  in  our  nature, 
he  put  himself  under  a  necessity  of  obedience,  and  doing  what  con- 
duced to  our  salvation  ;  so  he  loved  me  and  gave  himself  for  me. 

2.  Our  necessity  and  condition,  when  he  came  to  show  this  love  to 
us.  We  were  the  cursed  offspring  of  sinful  Adam,  in  a  lost  and 
lapsed  estate,  and  so  altogether  hopeless,  unless  some  means  were  used 
for  our  recovery.  Kindness  to  them  that  are  ready  to  perish  doth 
most  affect  us.  Surely  we  should  love  Christ  as  men  fetched  up  from 
the  gates  of  hell,  for  we  had  lost  the  image  of  God,  Rom.  iii.  23 ; 
sold  ourselves  to  Satan,  Isa.  Iii.  3  ;  sentenced  to  death  and  eternal 
condemnation  by  God's  righteous  law,  John  iii.  18 ;  ready  for  execu- 
tion, Eph.  ii.  3,  John  iii.  36  ;  nothing  but  the  slender  thread  of  a  frail 
life  between  us  and  it.  Then  did  Clirist  step  in  by  a  wonderful  act  of 
love  to  rescue  and  recover  us,  not  staying  till  we  relented  and  cried 
for  mercy.  We  were  neither  sensible  of  our  misery  nor  mindful  of 
our  remedy,  but  lay  dead  in  trespasses  and  sins,  Eph.  ii.  1.  Thus 
when  we  had  cast  away  the  mercies  of  our  creation,  and  were  wallow- 
ing in  our  blood  and  filthiness,  Ezek.  xvi.,  then  the  Son  of  God  came 
to  die  for  us,  Rom.  v.  7,  8.  Surely  it  was  love,  mere  love,  when  we 
stood  guilty  before  the  tribunal  of  God's  justice,  that  he  should  take  the 
chastisement  of  our  peace  upon  him :  Isa.  liii.  5,  '  And  with  his  stripes 
we  are  healed.' 

3.  The  astonishing  way  in  which  our  deliverance  was  brought 
about;  by  the  incarnation,  shame,  agonies,  blood,  and  death  of  the 
Son  of  God ;  this  was  the  highest  act  of  self-denial  on  Christ's  part, 
considering  him  only  as  to  the  nature  he  had  assumed  :  John  xv.  13, 
'  Greater  love  iiath  no  man  than  this,  that  a  man  lay  down  his  life  for 
his  friend.'  If  his  people  need  his  death,  he  will  give  ])ro()f  to  them 
by  his  death  of  his  love  to  them,  and  will  act  to  the  highest  laws  of 
friendship ;  we  learn  more  of  God's  love  by  this  instance  than  any- 
thing else. 

4.  The  notions  by  which  the  death  of  Christ  is  set  forth  to  us. 
There  are  two  solemn  ones — a  ransom  and  a  sacrifice. 

136  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXII. 

[1.]  A  ransom  :  Mat.  xx.  28,  '  Aad  to  give  his  life  as  a  ransom  for 
many ; '  1  Tim.  ii.  6,  '  Who  gave  himself  a  ransom  for  all.'  This  was 
an  ancient  notion  :  Job  xxxiii.  24,  '  Deliver  him  from  going  down  into 
the  pit,  for  I  have  found  a  ransom  ; '  that  is,  a  price  and  recompense 
given  in  our  stead.  A  ransom  is  a  price  given  to  one  that  hath  power 
of  life  and  death,  to  save  the  life  of  one  capitally  guilty,  or  by  law 
bound  to  suffer  death,  or  some  other  evil  and  punishment,  This  was 
our  case.  God  was  the  supreme  judge,  before  whose  tribunal  man 
standeth  guilty,  and  liable  to  death  ;  but  Christ  interposed  that  we 
might  be  spared,  and  the  Father  is  content  with  his  death  as  a  suffi- 
cient ransom. 

[2.]  The  other  notion  is  that  of  a  mediatorial  sacrifice :  Isa.  liii.  10, 
'  When  he  shall  make  his  soul  an  offering  for  sin  ; '  Eph.  v.  2,  '  As 
Christ  also  hath  loved  us,  and  hath  given  himself  for  us,  an  oftering 
and  a  sacrifice  to  God,  for  a  sweet-smelling  savour.'  He  undertook 
the  expiation  of  our  sins  and  the  propitiating  of  God.  God's  provoked 
justice  would  not  end  the  controversy  it  had  against  us  till  it  was 
appeased  by  a  proper  sacrifice  of  propitiation.  Now  herein  was  love  : 
1  John  iv.  10,  '  Not  that  we  loved  God,  but  that  he  loved  us,  and  sent 
his  Son  to  be  a  propitiation  for  our  sins.'  The  sins  and  guilty  fears  of 
mankind  show  the  need  of  such  a  remedy.  We  are  naturally  sensible 
that  the  punishment  of  death  is  deserved  and  due  to  us  by  the  law  of 
God :  Kom.  i.  32, '  Who  knowing  the  judgment  of  God,  that  they  which 
commit  such  things  are  worthy  of  death.'  And  also  the  necessity  of 
a  sin-offering.  This  Christ  hath  made,  '  that  our  consciences,  being 
purged  from  dead  works,  might  serve  the  living  God,'  Heb.  ix.  14. 

Fourthly,  The  consequent  benefits. 

1-  Relative  privileges,  pardon,  justification  and  adoption.  Pardon  : 
Eph.  i.  7,  '  In  whom  we  have  redemption  through  his  blood,  the  for- 
giveness of  sins.'  To  have  sin  pardoned,  which  is  the  great  make- 
bate,  which  is  the  worm  that  eateth  out  the  heart  of  all  our  comforts, 
the  venom  that  embittereth  all  our  crosses  ;  surely  this  is  the  great 
effect  of  God's  love  to  us.  Justification  :  Eom.  v.  1,  '  There  is  no 
condemnation  to  them  that  are  in  Christ  Jesus.'  To  be  at  present  upon 
good  terms  with  God,  freed  from  fears  of  hell  and  the  wrath  of  God, 
which  is  so  deservedly  terrible  to  all  serious  persons :  Rom.  v.  9, 
'  Being  justified  by  his  blood,  we  shall  be  saved  from  wrath  through 
him.'  Oh,  how  should  we  love  the  Lord  Jesus,  who  hath  procured 
such  privileges  for  us.  So  for  adoption,  to  be  taken  into  God's 
family  :  Gal.  iv.  5,  '  When  the  fulness  of  time  was  come,  God  sent 
forth  his  Son,  made  of  a  woman,  made  under  the  law,  to  redeem  them 
that  were  under  the  law,  that  we  might  receive  the  adoption  of  sons.' 
Assured  of  welcome  and  audience  in  all  our  needs,  as  children  are 
when  they  come  to  their  father,  to  wait  for  present  provision,  and 
hereafter  for  a  child's  portion. 

2.  Positive  inherent  graces,  to  have  our  natures  sanctified,  healed, 
and  freed  from  the  stains  of  sin ;  all  which  is  done  by  virtue  of  the 
death  of  Christ :  Eph.  v.  26,  '  He  gave  himself  for  it,  that  he  might 
sanctify  and  cleanse  it;'  Titus  ii.  14,  'Who  gave  himself  for  us,  that 
he  might  redeem  us  from  all  iniquity,  and  purify  to  himself  a  peculiar 
people,  zealous  of  good  works ; '  and  so  fitted  for  the  service  of  God  : 

VeR.  16.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  137 

Kev,  i.  5,  6,  'Who  hath  loved  ns,  and  washed  us  in  his  blood,  and 
made  us  kings  and  priests  unto  God.'  Surely  to  have  a  nature  divine 
and  heavenly,  to  be  made  like  God,  serviceable  to  God,  is  a  mercy  not 
easily  valued  according  to  its  worth.  Nay,  further,  to  be  fortified 
against  the  enemies  of  our  salvation.  The  devil:  Col.  ii.  15,  'And 
having  spoiled  principalities  and  powers,  he  hath  made  a  show  of 
them  openly,  triumphing  over  them.'  The  world  :  Gal.  i.  4,  '  He 
gave  liimself  that  he  might  redeem  us  from  this  present  evil  world.' 
The  flesh:  Gal.  v.  24,  'They  that  are  Christ's  have  crucified  the 
flesh,  with  the  affections  and  lusts  thereof;'  Rom.  vi.  G,  'Knowing 
that  our  old  man  is  crucified  with  him,  that  the  body  of  sin  may  be 
destroyed  ; '  1  Peter  ii.  24,  '  Who  his  own  self  bare  our  sins  in  his 
own  body  upon  the  tree,  that  we,  being  dead  unto  sin,  might  live  unto 
righteousness.'  They  are  distempered  and  diseased  souls  that  are  not 
affected  with  these  kind  of  mercies,  and  value  worldly  greatness  before 
them ;  as  swine  take  pleasure  in  the  mire,  and  ravenous  beasts  feed 
on  dung  and  carrion.  Surely  these  greater  mercies,  which  tend  to  the 
perfecting  and  ennobling  our  natures,  should  endear  Christ  to  us. 

3.  Eternal  blessedness  and  glory  ;  this  is  also  the  fruit  of  his  laying 
down  his  life  for  us ;  for  it  is  said,  1  Thes.  v.  10,  '  He  died  for  us, that 
whether  we  sleep  or  wake,  we  should  live  together  with  him ; '  and 
again,  Heb.  ix,  15,  '  He  is  the  mediator  of  the  new  testament,  that 
by  means  of  death,  for  the  redemption  of  the  transgressors  that  were 
under  the  firet  testament,  they  which  are  called  might  receive  the 
promise  of  eternal  inheritance.'  That  is  the  consummate  benefit,  when 
we  shall  be  brought  nigh  to  the  throne  of  God,  and  shall  be  companion.s 
of  the  holy  angels,  and  for  ever  behold  our  glorified  Redeemer,  and 
our  nature  united  to  the  Godhead  ;  and  for  our  persons,  we  shall  have 
the  nearest  intuition  and  fruition  of  God  that  we  are  capable  of,  and 
live  in  tlie  fullest  love  to  him  and  delight  in  him,  and  the  soul  shall 
for  ever  dwell  in  a  glorified  body,  which  shall  not  be  a  prison,  but  a 
temple  to  it ;  and  be  no  more  troubled  with  infirmities,  necessities, 
and  diseases,  but  for  ever  be  at  rest  with  the  Lord,  and  glorify  his 
name  to  all  eternity.  Thus  we  see  what  love  God  hath  showed  us  in 
Christ,  or  Christ  hath  showed  to  us  in  dying  for  us. 

Fifthly,  That  love  doth  shine  forth  more  in  our  redemption  by 
Christ  than  in  any  other  way  whereby  God  hath  discovered  himself  to 
the  creature.  That  we  have  a  good  God  is  otherwise  manifested,  and 
there  is  nothing  comes  from  him  but  shows  forth  something  of  his 
goodness  :  Ps.  cxix.  68,  '  Thou  art  good,  and  doest  good ;  teach  me 
thy  statutes.'  He  discovered  love  in  our  creation,  when  he  gave  us  a 
reasonable  nature,  and  made  us  a  little  lower  than  the  angels ;  but  he 
showeth  more  love  in  our  restoration,  when  he  giveth  us  a  divine  nature, 
and  advanceth  our  nature  in  the  person  of  Christ  far  above  principali- 
ties and  powers.  He  might  have  made  us  toads  and  serpents ;  he 
might  have  left  us  devils.  He  showeth  love  to  us  in  his  preservation 
and  daily  providence,  that  he  maintaineth  us  at  his  own  expense,  though 
we  do  him  so  little  service,  yea,  do  so  often  offend  him  ;  but  he  shows 
more  in  pardoning  our  sins,  and  adopting  us  into  his  family,  and  giving 
us  eternal  life.  A  word  made  us,  and  his  providential  word  keepeth 
us :  '  For  he  upholdeth  all  things  by  the  word  of  his  power,'  and  '  Man 

138  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXII. 

liveth  not  by  bread  alone  ;'  but  we  could  not  be  redeemed  without  the 
death  of  the  Son  of  God :  1  John  iv.  10,  '  Herein  is  love,  not  that  wo 
loved  God,  but  that  he  loved  us,  and  sent  his  Son  to  be  a  propitiation 
for  our  sins.'  Therefore  here  is  the  true  glass  wherein  to  see  God. 
Surely  we  had  never  known  so  much  of  the  love  of  God  had  it  not 
been  for  this  great  instance:  1  John  iv.  9,  'In  this  was  the  love  of 
God  manifested  towards  us,  because  he  sent  his  only-begotten  Son  into 
the  world,  that  we  might  live  through  him/  What  was  Jesus  Christ 
but  love  incarnate,  love  born  of  a  virgin,  love  hanging  on  a  cross,  love 
laid  in  the  grave,  love  made  sin,  love  made  a  curse  for  us  ?  It  was 
love  that  accomplished  all  the  wonders  of  our  redemption. 

Use  1.  This  glorious  demonstration  of  God's  love  should  fill  us  with 
admiring  thoughts  and  praise.  We  owe  all  to  love.  Christ :  John 
iii.  16,  'God  so  loved  the  world,  that  he  gave  his  only-begotten  Son.' 
The  covenant:  Jer.  xxxii.  40,41,  'And  I  will  make  an  everlasting 
covenant  with  them,  and  will  not  tvirn  away  from  them,  to  do  them 
good  :  yea,  I  will  rejoice  over  them  to  do  them  good,  and  I  will  plant 
them  in  this  land  assuredly  with  my  whole  heart,  and  with  my  whole 
soul'  The  blessings  of  the  covenant ;  conversion  :  Eph.  ii.  4,  5,  'But 
God,  who  is  rich  in  mercy,  for  his  great  love  wherewith  he  hath  loved 
us,  even  when  we  were  dead  in  sins  and  trespasses,  he  quickened  us.' 
Pardon :  Hosea  xiv.  4,  '  I  will  heal  their  backslidings,  and  will  love 
them  freely,'  Hopes  of  glory:  2  Thes.  ii.  16,  'He  hath  loved  us,  and 
given  us  everlasting  consolation,  and  good  hope  through  grace.'  Our 
final  glorification:  1  John  iii.  1,  'Behold  what  manner  of  love  is  this!' 
Pardon,  grace,  glory,  all  cometh  of  love.  Nothing  should  be  more 
frequent  in  our  hearts  and  mouths  than  the  love  of  God.  It  is  the 
study  of  the  saints  to  admire  this  :  Eph.  iii.  18,  '  That  we  may  com- 
prehend with  all  saints  what  is  the  breadth,  and  length,  and  depth, 
find  height,  and  to  know  the  love  of  Christ,  which  passeth  knowledge.' 
To  get  more  large  and  lively  thoughts  of  it.  This  will  most  be  when 
we  have  some  interest  in  these  things  :  1  John  iii.  1,  '  Behold  what 
manner  of  love  is  this,  that  we  should  be  called  the  sons  of  God! '  And 
you  find  the  fruits  of  it  in  your  own  souls:  Kom.  v.  5,  'But  hope 
maketh  not  ashamed,  because  the  love  of  God  is  shed  abroad  in  our 
hearts.'  Feel  the  virtue  of  his  death  in  heart  and  conscience,  then 
glory  in  it :  Gal.  vi.  14,  '  God  forbid  that  I  should  glory,  save  in  the 
cross  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ ; '  1  John  v.  10,  '  He  that  believeth  on 
the  Son  hath  the  witness  in  himself.'  When  it  appeaseth  your  guilty 
fears,  and  freeth  you  from  the  tyrann}'  of  worldly  lusts,  the  saving 
effects  of  this  love,  a  deep  and  intimate  feeling  giveth  us  the  true  sense 
of  those  things,  more  than  a  pertinent  and  exact  discourse. 

2.  This  glorious  demonstration  of  God's  love  to  us  should  beget  love 
in  us  to  God  again:  1  John  iv.  19,  'We  love  him  because  he  hath 
loved  us  first.'  Shall  Jesus  Christ  love  me,  and  make  a  plaster  of  his 
blood  for  my  poor  wounded  soul,  and  shall  I  not  love  him  again? 
The  cold  wall  will  reverberate  and  beat  back  again  the  heat  of  the 
sun:  2  Cor.  v.  14,  15,  '  For  the  love  of  Christ  constraineth  us,  because 
we  thus  judge,  if  one  died  for  all,  then  are  all  dead ;  and  that  he  died 
for  all,  that  they  which  live  should  not  henceforth  live  unto  themselves, 
but  unto  him  which  died  for  them,  and  rose  again.'    Our  hearts  should 

VeR.   16.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  139 

be  drawn  in  to  In'm,  and  love  and  thankfulness  should  be  the  life  of  all 
obedience  ;  for  all  christian  religion  in  effect  is  but  love.  Love  is  the 
spring  and  rise  of  all  that  Christ  did  for  us ;  so  it  should  be  the  rise 
and  spring  of  all  that  we  do  for  Christ,  that  we  may  act  and  suffer  for 
him  as  willingly  and  readily  as  he  did  for  us.  We  can  hardly  take 
comfort  in  any  dispensation  of  God  unless  there  be  love  in  it ;  neither 
will  God  accept  any  duty  of  ours  unless  there  be  love  in  it.  Oh,  let 
love  beget  love  ! 

3.  Let  us  be  content  with  this  manifestation  of  the  love  of  God  ;  we 
have  the  fruits  of  his  death,  though  God  straiten  us  in  outward  things. 
We  cannot  say  God  doth  or  doth  not  love  us,  though  he  giveth  or 
withholdeth  a  worldly  portion  :  Eccles.  ix.  1,  '  None  can  know  love  or 
hatred  by  these  things.'  Sometimes  God's  enemies  have  a  large  supply, 
when  his  people  are  kept  short  and  bare  :  Ps.  xvii.  14,  '  From  men 
which  are  thy  hand,  0  Lord,  from  men  of  the  world,  which  have  their 
portion  in  this  life,  and  whose  bellies  thou  fillest  with  thy  hid  treasure: 
they  are  full  of  children,  and  leave  the  rest  of  their  substance  to  their 
babes.'  But  if  he  giveth  us  the  saving  effects  of  Christ's  death,  it  is 
a  certain  demonstration  of  his  love,  though  he  doth  not  gratify  us 
with  worldly  increase.  Let  us  look  after  the  distinguishing  effects  of 
his  love,  and  the  favour  he  beareth  to  his  people. 

Secondly,  I  come  to  the  duty  hence  inferred, '  We  ought  to  lay  down 
our  lives  for  the  brethren.' 

Dod.  Christians  ought  to  be  ready  to  lay  down  their  lives  for  the 

This  is  the  use  we  are  directed  to  make  of  God's  laying  down  his  life 
for  us,  not  only  that  we  may  love  him  again,  and  be  reconciled  to  him, 
but  to  teach  us  how  to  love  one  another. 

Note  three  things  from  hence — 

First,  That  our  love  of  the  brethren  is  inferred  out  of  Christ's  love 
to  us.  Christ's  love  to  us  hath  a  double  respect  to  it — (1.)  It  hath 
the  force  of  a  cause ;  (2.)  The  use  of  a  pattern  and  example. 

1.  The  force  of  a  cause.  Out  of  gratitude  to  Christ  we  should  love 
those  that  are  Christ's,  those  that  are  his  people,  and  bear  his  name  and 
image;  because  he  hath  loved  us,  we  should  love  one  another  :  1  John 
iv,  11,  *  If  God  so  loved  us,  we  should  love  one  another,'  for  this 

2.  It  hath  the  use  of  a  pattern  and  example  ;  we  must  not  only  love 
others  because  he  hath  loved  us,  but  we  must  love  others  as  he  hath 
loved  us  :  John  xv.  12,  '  This  is  my  commandment,  that  ye  love  one 
another,  as  I  have  loved  you  ; '  and  John  xiii.  34,  '  This  is  my  new 
commandment  which  I  give  unto  you,  that  ye  love  one  another-;  as  I 
have  loved  you,  that  ye  also  love  one  another.'  This  is  the  pattern 
propounded  to  our  imitation. 

Secondly,  That  in  our  love  to  the  brethren,  as  we  must  imitate  Christ 
in  other  things,  so  in  laying  down  our  lives  for  their  good.  Our  love 
should  be  free  as  his  was,  sincere  as  his  was,  fruitful  as  his,  constant 
as  ills  love,  superlative  as  his:  Eph.  v.  2,  'Walk  in  love  as  Clnist 
also  hath  loved  us,'  But  chiefly  in  his  dying,  to  reduce  men  to  God. 
Christ  was  willing  to  endure  all  extremity  to  exi)iate  our  sins  and 
bring  about  our  salvation.     Christ's  love  fainted  not:  John  xiii.  1, 

140  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXII. 

'  Christ  bavinf?  loved  his  own  which  were  in  the  world,  he  loved  them 
to  the  end.'  Therefore  we  should  venture  our  lives  in  such  a  noble 
design  to  bring  men  to  the  christian  faith.  Christ's  precious  blood  was 
more  valuable  than  all  the  world,  therefore  we  should  not  stick  at  any 

Thirdly,  It  is  not  left  arbitrary  and  free  to  us  to  do  or  not  to  do,  but 
we  must  or  ought  to  lay  down  our  lives  for  the  brethren.  So  it  is  in 
the  text, '  We  ought  also.'  Christ  must  be  obeyed  whatever  our  inclin- 
ations be.  It  is  such  a  necessary  duty,  that  we  are  nothing  without  it : 
1  Cor.  xiii.  1-3,  '  Though  I  speak  with  the  tongue  of  men  and  angels, 
and  have  not  charity,  I  am  become  as  a  sounding  brass  or  a  tinkling 
cymbal.  And  though  I  have  the  gifts  of  prophecy,  and  understand  all 
mysteries,  and  all  knowledge  ;  and  though  I  had  all  faith,  and  I  could 
remove  mountains,  and  have  not  charity,  I  am  nothing.  And  though 
I  bestow  all  my  goods  to  feed  the  poor,  and  though  I  give  my  body  to 
be  burned,  and  have  not  charity,  it  profiteth  me  nothing.'  We  have 
not  the  true  spirit  of  Christianity  till  this  be  accomplished  in  us. 

But  in  what  cases  is  a  man  to  die  for  another  ? 

I  answer — This  case  of  conscience  must  be  decided  by  distinguishing 
— (1.)  The  persons ;  (2.)  The  cause ;  (3.)  The  manner ;  (4.)  The 

First,  As  to  the  persons  for  whom  we  must  lay  down  our  lives. 

1.  They  mny  be  considered  as  aliens  or  infidels,  or  as  fellow-christians. 
Principally  the  latter  are  intended,  for  they  are  more  properly  our 
brethren,  and  this  duty  belongeth  to  brotherly  love,  as  it  is  distinguished 
from  charity.  But  yet  the  others  are  not  wholly  to  be  excluded,  because  we 
die  or  venture  our  lives  for  infidels  that  they  may  become  brethren  ;  as 
Christ  died  for  us  when  we  were  enemies  that  we  might  be  made  friends. 
And  therefore,  though  base  and  brutish,  and  opposite  to  us  for  the 
present,  yet  there  should  be  an  earnest  desire  of  their  spiritual  good ; 
and  it  is  most  like  the  example  of  Christ  to  run  all  hazards  for  the 
conversion  of  the  world,  as  well  as  the  confirmation  of  the  faithful : 
Phil.  ii.  17,  '  Yea,  and  if  I  be  offered  upon  the  sacrifice  and  service  of 
your  faith,  I  joy  and  rejoice  with  you  all.'  His  blood  poured  out  as  a 
drink-offering,  with  allusion  to  the  sacrifices  of  the  law. 

2.  They  may  be  considered  as  a  single  person  or  as  a  multitude. 
Now  for  a  community,  there  is  no  question  but  I  should  venture  my 
single  life  to  save  them.  It  is  a  constant  rule  that  all  private  things 
must  give  way  to  public,  for  God's  glory  is  more  promoted  and  con- 
cerned in  a  public  good  than  in  a  private  ;  therefore  a  public  good  is 
better  and  more  considerable  in  itself  than  any  man's  particular 
temporal  happiness.  God's  glory  must  be  preferred  before  the  creature's 
profit.  Heathens  have  chosen  to  die  for  the  public  good,  or  for  their 
country's,  though  it  may  be  suspected  fame  had  a  great  influence  on 
it.  Thus  Curtius  went  into  a  gulf  to  save  his  country.  Yea,  the 
creatures  act  against  their  particular  nature  to  preserve  the  universe. 
Lawrence  ran  the  hazard  of  a  gridiron  rather  than  betray  the  faithful. 
But  now  the  question  is,  whether  is  one  single  person  bound  to  die  for 
another  ?  Yes,  if  more  eminently  useful,  as  you  shall  see  by  and  by  ; 
and  that  is  not  hard,  because  he  is  as  much  bound  to  die  for  me  as  I 
for  him  ;  the  strong  to  confirm  the  faith  of  the  weak,  and  the  weak  to 

YeR.  16.]  SERMOXS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  141 

preserve  the  strong,  that  they  may  do  more  good.  So  where  a  great 
obligation  is ;  as  to  our  natural  parents  :  we  have  received  our  lives 
from  them,  A  private  christian  suffering  for  Christ  should  be  owned, 
since  a  man  cannot  without  it  perform  necessary  duties  in  owning 
Christ's  members  :  Mat.  xxv.  43,  '  I  was  in  prison,  and  ye  visited  me 
not ; '  2  Tim.  iv.  16,  '  All  men  forsook  me;  I  pray  God  it  be  not  laid 
to  their  charge.'  Though  it  may  involve  them  in  great  trouble  to  own 
God's  servants  and  supply  their  necessities,  as  in  Queen  Mary's  days. 

3.  Others  may  be  considered  as  to  their  capacities  of  promoting  the 
glory  of  God,  as  the  magistrate,  or  the  father  of  the  country :  2  Sara. 
xviii.  3,  '  Thou  art  better  than  ten  thousand  of  us  ; '  2  Sam.  xxi.  16, 
17,  '  0  quench  not  the  light  of  Israel,'  when  David  was  in  danger  ;  or 
eminent  ministers,  such  as  may  save  many  souls.  Pdul  telleth  us, 
Rom.  xvi.  4,  '  Who  have  for  my  life  laid  down  their  own  necks,  unto 
■whom  not  only  I  give  thanks,  but  also  all  the  churches  of  the  gentiles;' 
Phil.  ii.  30,  'For  the  work  of  Christ  he  was  nigh  unto  death,  not 
regarding  life,  to  supply  your  lack  of  service  towards  me.'  Persons 
public  must  be  preferred  before  private  ;  and  among  private  those  that 
excel  and  may  be  more  useful,  whose  lives  may  more  conduce  to  the 
glory  of  God,  We  must  love  a  better  and  a  more  serviceable  man, 
who  hath  more  of  God's  Spirit  in  him,  above  ourselves,  and  an  equal 
person  equal  with  ourselves.  Well,  then,  a  subject  is  bound  to  preserve 
the  life  of  the  magistrate,  as  the  hand  will  lift  up  itself  to  save  the 
liead.  Nay,  in  some  cases,  though  it  be  a  private  friend  ;  for  though 
my  life  and  his  be  of  an  equal  value,  yet  my  duty  to  him  and  his  life 
overswayeth,  especially  if  the  case  be  but  hazardous,  as  to  rescue  him 
from  an  assassin. 

Secondly,  The  cause  for  which  we  exercise  this  great  charity  to 
nthers  ;  it  is  for  their  good.  Now  good  is  either  temporal  or  eternal ; 
for  their  eternal  good  chiefly  we  are  to  do  this.  Paul,  if  he  might  pro- 
mote the  glory  of  God,  'could  wish  himself  accursed  from  Christ  for 
liis  brethren  and  kinsmen  according  to  the  flesh,'  Rom.  ix.  3 ;  if  to 
free  others  from  eternal  death  ;  so  did  Christ  die  for  us.  Suppose 
temporal  good,  to  free  them  from  temporal  evil,  to  clear  the  community  ; 
or  for  useful  persons,  or  persons  for  whom  I  stand  bound. 

1.  Certainly  we  ought  to  help  one  another's  spiritual  good  by  the 
loss  of  our  temporal,  and  venture  life,  liberty,  and  estate  for  the  propa- 
gation of  the  gospel.  An  instance  we  have  in  Paul's  glorious  excess  of 
charity.  :  E.^od.  xxxii.  '  Blot  me  out  of  thy  book,  if  thou  wilt 
forgive  their  sins.'  But  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  above  all :  2  Cor.  viii. 
9,  '  For  ye  know  the  grace  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  that  though  he  was 
lich,  yet  for  our  sakes  he  became  poor,  that  we  through  his  poverty 
might  be  rich.'  A  public  spiritual  good  is  more  valuable  than 
any  temporal  good,  a  necessary  act  of  our  love  to  God. 

2.  Temporal  good, to  save  the  life  of  public,  useful,  eminent  persons, 
if  their  lives  be  more  serviceable  than  ours. 

Thirdly,  The  manner  of  exposing  life  to  apparent  hazard  or  to  cer- 
tain death  ;  partly  because  in  some  cases  we  may  venture  our  lives, 
though  not  actually  lay  them  down,  us  we  may  expose  ourselves  to 
uncertain  danger  to  hinder  others'  certain  danger,  as  when  a  man  is 
assaulted  by  thieves  and  ruffians,  to  prevent  murder.    I  must  contribute 


my  help  to  the  wronged  party,  though  I  endanger  my  own  life:  Esther 
iv.  16,  '  If  I  perish,  I  perish.'  There  are  two  grounds  of  that  resolu- 
tion— a  public  good  preferred  before  a  private.  The  case  was  only 
hazardous,  though  likely  ;  for  she  would  go  with  a  courageous  mind. 
And  jmrtly  because  he  that  ventureth  puts  his  life  in  his  hand,  is 
accepted  with  God,  though  he  doth  not  actually  lay  down  his  life ;  for 
it  is  so  interpreted,  because  he  runneth  a  course  of  danger. 

Fourthly,  The  call.  We  must  not  precipitate  and  cast  ourselves 
needlessly  on  such  trials.  God  willeth  no  man  to  be  foolishly  and  rashly 
prodigal  of  his  own  life  and  health,  yet  when  clearly  called,  none  of 
this  must  be  stood  upon.  In  two  cases  we  seem  to  be  called.  First, 
When  we  cannot  without  sin  escape  such  a  trial.  It  overtaketh  us  in 
our  station  wherein  God  hath  set  us,  otherwise  we  must  preserve  our 
lives  for  the  glory  of  God  and  the  good  of  others.  Secondly,  When 
God  findeth  us  out  in  our  sin,  and  others  are  like  to  suffer  for  our  sake. 
2  Sam.  xxiv.  12,  when  David  had  displeased  God  in  numbering  the 
people,  God,  by  the  prophet  Gad,  offereth  him  three  things  :  '  Choose 
one  of  them,  that  I  may  do  it  unto  thee ; '  and  Jonah  i.  12,  '  And  he 
said.  Take  me  up  and  cast  me  into  the  sea,  for  I  know  that  for  my  sake 
this  great  tempest  is  upon  you.' 

Object.  It  is  true,  I  must  love  my  neighbour  as  myself ;  but  by  this 
it  seemeth  I  must  love  him  above  myself. 

Ans.  1.  I  love  myself  when  I  only  hazard  temporal  life  to  obtain 
eternal.  It  is  not  a  hard  law  for  them  to  keep  that  have  an  eternal 
life  assured  to  them  for  the  loss  of  a  temporal  one  :  John  xi.  25,  '  He 
that  believeth  on  me  shall  live  though  he  die.' 

Ans.  2.  Natural  love  is  to  be  subservient  to  our  spiritual  love. 
Natural  love,  which  is  put  into  a  man  for  self-preservation,  no  question 
will  be  stronger  to  itself  than  another ;  and  indeed  we  are  to  prefer, 
and  first  preserve  and  provide  for,  ourselves ;  our  neighbour  is  only  re- 
garded as  a  second  self.  But  this  is  to  be  directed  and  mastered  by  our 
spiritual  love.  As  reason  taught  the  heathens  to  prefer  their  countries 
before  their  life,  so  grace  teacheth  christians  to  prefer  God's  honour, 
Christ's  kingdom,  gospel  church,  neighbour's  spiritual  good,  before  our 
own  life  and  liberty  ;  and  we  ought  to  lay  down  our  lives  for  others, 
when  the  glory  of  God,  edification  of  the  church,  and  spiritual  necessity 
of  others  requireth  it.  Our  lives  must  not  be  dearer  to  us  than  Christ's 
was  to  him. 

Use  1.  If  we  are  to  lay  down  our  lives  for  the  brethren,  then  we 
should  sincerely  perform  all  lesser  offices  of  love  to  them.  See  the  next 
verse,  '  But  whoso  hath  this  world's  goods,  and  seeth  his  brother  hath 
need.'  If  you  cannot  part  with  superfluities,  can  you  part  with  life  for 
their  sake  ?  2  Sam.  xxiv.  17.  If  you  will  not  hazard  a  frown  or  a 
check  for  them,  how  can  you  suffer  death  for  them  ?  If  not  put  your- 
selves to  the  trouble  of  a  visit,  how  will  you  travel  all  the  world,  and 
put  yourselves  to  all  manner  of  hazards  to  convert  souls  ? 

2.  How  much  self-lovers  and  self-seekers  are  to  be  condemned.  If 
I  must  not  only  love  my  neighbour  as  myself,  but  love  him  as  Christ 
loved  me,  surely  they  have  a  temper  most  unsuitable  to  Christianity 
that  only  mind  their  own  things,  and  please  their  own  wills  and 
desires,  without  seeking  the  welfare  of  others.     Whether  they  be  in  a 

VeR.  16.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  143 

public  or  private  capacity,  tliey  care  not  liow  it  goes  with  the  clmrcU 
and  people  of  God,  so  their  particular  interests  may  flourish.  This  is 
against  nature  and  grace.  By  nature  man  is  a  sociable  creature,  that 
cannot  live  by  himself,  therefore  should  not  live  to  himself;  and  grace 
hath  cast  us  into  the  mystical  body,  there  is  a  great  aggregated  self, 
and  that  is  the  society  to  which  we  do  belong ;  and  that  is  the  reason 
why  we  are  so  often  said  to  be  members  of  one  another,  Eom.  xii.  5. 
It  is  but  self  still,  the  same  mystical  body  ;  and  we  should  care  one 
for  another  as  for  ourselves,  especially  the  public  state  of  Christ's  cliurch. 
If  it  be  ill  with  them  and  the  church  too,  church-sorrow  swalloweth  up 
their  j)rivate  grief:  1  Sam.  iv.  22,  '  The  glory  is  departed,  for  the  ark 
of  God  is  taken.'  She  doth  not  bewail  the  death  of  her  husband,  the 
death  of  a  father  and  brother,  so  much  as  the  ark's  being  taken,  and 
the  glory  departed  from  Israel.  If  it  go  well  with  them  and  the  church 
too,  it  doubleth  the  contentment :  Ps.  cxxviii.  5,  '  Thou  shalt  see  thy 
children's  children,  and  peace  upon  Israel.'  But  if  things  go  cross  and  ill 
with  the  church  when  it  goeth  well  with  them,  the  state  of  the  church  is 
a  wound  to  their  hearts :  Ps.  cxxxvii.  5,  6,  '  They  prefer  Zion  above 
their  chief  joy.'  If  it  go  well  with  the  church  when  ill  with  them,  it 
is  a  comfort ;  as  Paul  in  prison  rejoiced  in  the  progress  of  the  gospel, 
Phil.  i.  15-18. 

3.  That  christian  love  is  a  more  necessary  and  excellent  grace  than 
usually  we  take  it  to  be.  First,  More  necessary,  for  Christ  died  to  set 
a  pattern  to  our  love ;  as  to  teach  us  to  love  God,  so  with  what  fervour 
and  affection  to  love  one  another.  Of  all  duties  and  graces  that  re- 
spect our  neighbour,  this  is  most  necessary  ;  it  is  indeed  all  the  sum  of 
the  law  :  Kom.  xiii.  8, '  He  that  loveth  another  hath  fulfilled  the  law.' 
The  fountain  of  all :  1  Cor.  xvi.  24,  '  My  love  be  with  you  all  in  Christ 
Jesus.'  Without  it,  though  we  have  the  greatest  gifts,  do  the  mostpomp- 
ous  acts,  it  is  nothing,  1  Cor.  xiii.  1-3.  Yea,  it  is  the  great  means  of 
making  believers  useful  to  one  another.  Secondly,  The  excellency  ;  here 
is  the  highest  pattern,  viz.,  Christ.  We  cannot  come  up  to  his  heightand 
measure,  yet  some  resemblance  there  must  be  between  his  love  to  souls 
and  our  love  to  the  brethren.  Thirdly,  The  highest  act  of  his  self-denial 
is  instanced  in  his  laying  down  his  life,  which  Christ  telleth  us  is  the 
greatest  act  of  friendship  among  men,  scarce  ever  found,  John  xv.  13. 
Now  we  take  love  for  a  slight  thing  as  practised  among  us  ;  but  as  it 
is  taught  in  scripture,  the  law  of  charity  is  very  strict,  that  we  should 
forget  our  own  highest  interests  for  the  profit  of  others  ;  and  few  chris- 
tians there  are  that  have  the  due  impressions  of  Christ's  death  upon 

4.  How  much  all  that  profess  chri.stianity  should  be  above  the  fears 
of  death,  and  in  readiness  to  lay  down  their  lives  when  God  in  his  pro- 
vidence calleth  them  to  it.  Love  to  God  calleth  for  it,  Luke  xiv.  26. 
Yea,  love  to  man  calleth  for  it :  Acts  xxi.  13,  '  I  am  ready  not  to  be 
bound  only,  but  also  to  die  at  Jerusalem.'  This  is  no  hard  law,  if  we 
consider  our  obligation  from  the  death  of  Christ,  and  our  encourage- 
ment from  the  hope  of  eternal  reward.  Heathens  died  for  their  country 
out  of  natural  gallantry  and  greatness  of  mind ;  they  knew  they  could 
not  have  lived  long,  therefore  chose  this  way.  But  Christianity  only 
teaches  the  true  grounds  of  contemning  life  and  all  temporal  interests. 



But  ivlioso  hath  this  world's  good,  and  seeth  his  hrother  have  need,  and 
shutteih  up  his  bowels  of  compassion  from  him,  hoiv  dioelleth  the 
love  of  God  in  himl  My  Utile  children,  let  us  not  love  in  word, 
neither  in  tongue  ;  but  in  deed  and  in  truth. — 1  John  iii.  17,  18. 

In  the  former  verse  he  liath  urged  the  example  of  Christ,  which  is 
both  a  reason  and  a  pattern  of  our  love  to  our  brethren,  '  We  must 
love  others  because  he  loved  us,  and  we  must  love  others  as  he  loved 
us.'  The  pattern  is  urged  not  only  for  the  duty  itself,  but  the  degree 
of  it.  We  must  imitate  Christ  in  that  eminent  act  of  self-denial,  his 
laying  down  his  life  for  us.  Surely  that  love  is  best  which  is  most 
like  Chiist's.  Now  Christ  spared  not  his  life,  nor  anything  to  do  us 
good  ;  so  should  our  love  express  itself  in  the  highest  instances  of  love. 
Well,  then,  if  we  are  bound  to  the  greater,  we  are  much  more  bound 
to  the  lesser ;  if  to  lay  down  our  lives  for  those  that  are  in  danger, 
much  more  to  give  our  goods  to  them.  Surely  those  are  not  to  be 
accounted  lovers  of  the  brethren  that  will  not  part  with  a  little  of  their 
substance  on  these  occasions,  and  are  guilty  of  gross  hypocrisy  if  they 
should  pretend  either  to  the  love  of  God  or  our  neighbour,  '  But  whoso 
hath  this  world's  good,  and  seeth  his  brother  have  need,'  &c. 
In  the  words  there  is — 

1.  An  argument  implied,  a  majori  ad  minus  ;  and  there  is  expressly 
contained  in  it — (1.)  A  supposition  of  a  duty  neglected;  (2.)  A  censure 
or  charge  of  a  heinous  crime  imputed  to  such  ;  the  '  love  of  God  doth 
not  dwell '  in  them. 

2.  An  exhortation  to  sincerity. 

First,  In  the  argument  we  have  three  things — 

[1.]  The  ability  of  the  party  to  exercise  charity,  '  Whoso  hath  this 
world's  good.' 

[2.]  The  necessity  of  the  party  upon  whom  it  is  exercised,  'And 
seeth  his  brother  have  need.' 

[3.]  The  neglect  itself,  *  Shutteth  up  his  bowels  of  compassion  from 

(1.)  The  ability  of  the  party,  'Whoso  hath  this  world's  good  ;'  the 
meaning  is,  wherewith  to  support  this  worldly  life ;  as  the  woman  is 
said  to  cast  in  all  her  living,  Mark  xii.  44;  and  in  other  places  bios  is  put 
for  the  support  of  life.  Those  that  have  but  from  hand  to  mouth  are 
bound  to  distribute  to  them  that  need,  Eph.  iv.  28 ;  but  much  more 
the  rich,  that  have  not  only  to  sustain  and  support  this  life,  but  to 
spare  for  others.  What  we  have  we  are  to  give  ;  out  of  a  little,  a  little ; 
out  of  more,  more  :  Luke  xii.  33,  '  Sell  what  you  have.'  So  Luke  xi. 
41,  Give  alms  of  such  things  as  you  have,  and  all  things  shall  be  clean 
to  you.'  So  Luke  viii.  3,  '  They  ministered  to  him  of  their  substance.' 
So  much  of  this  world's  goods  as  every  man  hath,  so  far  his  bounty 
must  extend. 

(2.)  The  next  thing  supposed  is  others'  necessity.  By  our  own  estate 
God  giveth  us  matter  to  exercise  charity;  by  others'  necessity  he 
giveth  us  occasion :  his  providence  f  urnisheth  us,  and  straiteneth  them ; 

VeR.  17,  18.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  145 

if  they  need  bread  to  sustain  life,  or  raiment  to  clothe  the  body  ;  and 
those  that  need  be  brethren,  the  Lord  calleth  upon  us  for  some 

(3.)  The  act  omitted, '  Shutteth  up  his  bowels  of  compassion  from  him.' 
Here  the  next  inward  cause  is  mentioned,  and  that  is,  'bowels  of  compas- 
sion from  him  ; '  but  the  effect  also  is  intended.  If  he  doth  not  assist  him 
in  his  needs,  his  heart  must  be  first  opened ;  there  must  be  a  willing  and 
ready  mind,  and  then  his  hand  opened ;  there  must  be  a  liberal  and 
bountiful  relief.  '  Bowels,'  no  duty  in  this  kind  is  accepted  with  God  but 
what  is  joined  with  bowels  of  compassion  and  sympathy.  What  we 
translate,  Luke  i.  78, '  Through  the  tender  mercy  of  our  God,'  is  in  the 
margin,  'Bowels  of  mercy.'  S^o  2  Cor.  vii.  15,  'His  inward  affection 
is  more  abundant  towards  you.'  It  is  bowels.  So  Col.  iii.  12,  '  Put 
on  bowels  of  mercy,'  It  noteth  an  inward  sense  and  sympathy  with 
the  misery  of  others;  such  an  intense  motion  of  the  heart,  that 
the  very  bowels  are  moved  by  it ;  so  that  it  is,  if  he  shut  up  his 
bowels,  if  he  show  himself  hard-hearted  and  merciless,  is  not  moved 
with  any  pity  of  another's  wants.  The  meaning  is  fully  expressed  by 
Moses,  Dent.  xv.  7,  '  Thou  shalt  not  harden  thy  heart,  nor  shut  thy 
hand  from  thy  poor  brother.' 

2dly.  The  censure  and  charge  pronounced  on  us,  *  Whosoever  they 
be  ; '  where  mark — 

(1.)  The  form  of  proposal ;  it  is  by  way  of  question  or  appeal  to 
common  reason.  Can  any  man  be  so  absurd  as  to  imagine  that  this  man 
can  have  the  love  of  God  in  him  ? 

(2.)  The  heinousness  of  the  crime  or  matter  charged,  '  The  love  of 
God  dwelleth  not  in  him  ; '  that  is,  is  not  rooted  in  his  heart,  and  so  he 
must  go  for  a  hypocrite  ;  though  not  grossly  dissembling  Christianity, 
yet  guilty  of  partial  obedience.  Mark,  it  is  not  said,  How  dwelleth  the 
love  of  the  brethren  in  him  ?  but  'How  dwelleth  the  love  of  God  in  him  ? ' 
Though  they  pretend  to  love  God,  yet  indeed  they  neitlier  love  the 
brethren  nor  God. 

Secondly,  The  exhortation  to  sincerity, '  My  little  children,  let  us  not 
love  in  word,  neither  in  tongue,  but  in  deed  and  in  truth.^  In  this 
exhortation  there  is — 

1.  The  compellation,  'My  little  children,'  pressing  love  ;  heshowetli 
love  and  tenderness  towards  them. 

2.  The  matter  of  the  exhortation,  to  sincerity  of  love,  expressed — 
First,  Negatively,  'Not  in  word  and  in  tongue.'     To  show  love  in 

word  and  tongue  is  not  simply  forbidden,  but  respectively  ;  not  simply, 
for  good  words  are  useful  in  two  cases — 

[1.]  To  comfort  the  miserable,  they  have  their  use. 

[2.]  To  maintain  their  innocency.  Some  cannot  afford  their  biother 
a  good  word,  either  of  him  or  to  him.  Others,  their  hands  are  withered, 
have  not  a  heart  to  help  him.  But  comparatively  or  respectively  the 
meaning  is,  when  it  is  in  word  and  tongue  only  ;  and  real  and  actual 
doing  good  is  neglected  or  excluded  when  we  rest  in  good  words. 

Secondly,  Positively,  '  But  in  deed  and  in  truth  ; '  that  is,  so  as  the 
uprightness  of  our  hearts  may  be  manifested  by  real  deeds,  or  doing 
good,  when  the  needs  of  others  require  it.  To  love  in  '  deed  and  in 
truth,'  is  to  love  sincerely  :  1  Peter  i.  22.     '  Seeing  ye  have  purified 

VOL.  XXI.  s. 


your  souls  in  obeyinoj  the  truth  through  the  Spirit,  unto  unfeigned  love 
of  the  brethren.'     Which  must  be  understood  of  ends  and  effects. 

1.  Ends,  spoken  of  Mat.  vi.  1,  2,  '  Take  heed  that  you  do  not  your 
alms  before  men,  to  be  seen  of  them  ;  otherwise  ye  have  no  reward  of 
your  Father  which  is  in  heaven.  Therefore,  when  thou  doest  thine  alms, 
do  not  sound  a  trumpet  before  thee,  as  the  hypocrites  do  in  the 
synagogues  and  in  the  streets,  to  be  seen  of  men.'  All  they  did  was 
hypocrisy,  '  to  be  seen  of  men.' 

2.  Effects,  when  words  are  dissembled  :  Prov.  xxiii.  7,  '  Eat  and 
drink,  saith  he,  but  his  heart  is  not  with  thee.'  When  not  seconded 
and  verified  with  suitable  acts, '  Be  warmed  and  clothed  ; '  as  here  many 
foolishly  and  causelessly  boasted  they  loved  the  brethren,  but  they  would 
do  nothing  for  them.  They  boasted  of  love  with  their  mouths,  but 
would  not  show  it  by  the  effects. 

Doct.  That  want  of  bowels  of  compassion,  or  denying  relief  to  the 
needy  and  indigent,  is  the  note  of  a  man  that  loveth  not  God. 

I  shall  make  good  the  point  by  these  considerations — 

1.  That  it  is  the  will  of  God  that  there  should  be  a  difference  among 
men,  that  some  should  be  rich,  others  poor,  some  high,  some  low  :  Deut. 
XV.  11,  '  For  the  poor  shall  never  cease  out  of  the  land :  Therefore  I 
command  thee, saying,  Thou  shalt  open  thine  hand  wide  unto  thy  brother, 
to  the  poor  and  needy  in  the  land.'  Though  God  is  able  abundantly 
to  supply  all  men's  wants,  yet  he  hath  by  his  providence  so  appointed 
and  ordered  men's  outward  condition  in  the  world,  that  all  should  not 
be  rich  and  wealthy,  but  some  poor  and  of  mean  estate  ;  as  here  in  the 
text,  one  brother  is  supposed  to  have  this  world's  goods,  and  the  other 
to  have  want  and  need.  So  also  Mark  xiv.  7,  '  Ye  have  the  poor  with 
you  always,  and  whensoever  ye  will  ye  may  do  good  to  them.'  God's 
wisdom  doth  appear  most  in  the  different  degrees  and  estates  of  men. 
As  it  is  with  respect  to  the  world,  for  the  beauty  and  service  of  the 
universe,  that  there  should  be  in  the  world  hills  and  valleys,  so  in  the 
world  of  mankind  there  are  superiors  and  inferiors,  masters  and  servants, 
rich  and  poor,  nobles  and  craftsmen.  First,  It  is  for  the  good  of  human 
society,  the  more  firmly  to  tie  men  together.  The  poor  need  support, 
succour,  and  relief  from  the  rich,  and  the  rich  need  the  labours  and 
industry  of  the  poor.  Different  degrees  fit  men  for  difterent  callings, 
for  service  and  command  ;  some  things  would  be  wanting  to  the  good 
of  mankind,  if  all  were  poor  or  all  rich.  Therefore  God's  way  is  not 
parity  and  levelling,  but  diversity  of  ranks  and  degrees.  Secondly, 
Besides  the  necessities  of  man,  God  doth  it  with  respect  to  his  own 
government,  in  order  to  the  world  to  come  ;  for  the  trial  of  men's  obedi- 
ence is  better  made  thereby. 

[1.]  The  trial  of  the  rich. 

(1.)  Their  thankfulness  to  God.  God  might  have  laid  them  low  as 
well  as  others.  If  they  abuse  their  high  estate  to  pride  and  oppression, 
they  tax  the  wisdom  of  the  great  governor  of  the  world,  and  are  un- 
thankful to  him :  Prov.  xxii.  2,  '  The  rich  and  the  poor  meet  together, 
the  Lord  is  the  maker  of  them  both ; '  that  is,  God  is  the  moderator ' 
and  disposer  of  each  man's  estate.  One  by  God  is  largely  furnished 
with  temporal  good  things,  whether  they  come  to  him  by  right  of  in- 
heritance, or  free  gift,  or  honest  labour,  it  is  all  from  God ;   the  other 

VeR.  17,  18.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  147 

is  kept  bare,  and  under  pressing  necessities,  eitlier  by  the  calamities  of 
the  times,  or  defect  of  means,  or  miscarriage  of  instruments,  or  by  some 
sudden  blast  and  disappointment  of  God's  providence.  Now  these  meet 
together  in  the  same  world,  in  the  same  kingdom,  and  the  same  town 
or  city,  and  they  have  often  business  to  do  one  with  another,  and  have 
need  one  of  another.  If  the  rich  carry  it  imperiously  to  the  poor,  or 
the  poor  enviously  to  the  rich,  they  pervert  God's  government,  do  not 
observe  the  duties  which  God  expecteth  from  them  in  their  several 
conditions  of  life.  Well,  then,  it  is  but  in  poor  perishing  riches  that 
we  differ  one  from  another,  and  we  must  all  stand  before  our  judge  to 
give  an  account  how  we  have  behaved  ourselves  in  either  state  :  Prov. 
xvii.  5,  '  Whoso  mocketh  the  poor  reproacheth  his  maker.'  He  that 
despiseth  the  poor  carrieth  himself  haughtily,  contemptuously,  he 
forgetteth  who  maketh  him  to  differ,  and  who  it  is  that  casteth  the 
world  into  this  order,  lifting  you  up  and  keeping  down  others;  he 
might  have  laid  you  low  as  well  as  others,  you  might  have  been  born 
of  mean  parents  as  well  as  rich. 

(2.)  To  try  their  sympathy  and  humanity.  Poverty  and  other 
miseries  will  not  be  wanting  among  the  children  of  men,  that  the  rich 
may  have  occasion  to  exercise  their  charity,  and  love,  and  compassion 
to  their  poor  brethren ;  as  the  great  veins  are  filled  with  blood  to 
supply  the  lesser.  And  indeed  human  nature  hath  nothing  better  nor 
greater  than  a  heart  and  power  to  help  the  miserable :  Acts  xx.  35, 
as  our  Lord  said,  '  It  is  a  more  blessed  thing  to  give  than  to  receive.' 
Where  did  our  Lord  say  so  ?  Christ  in  all  his  sayings  hath  often  com- 
mended giving,  but  never  receiving.  But  it  is  blessed  because  it 
comes  nearer  to  the  nature  of  God,  who  giveth  to  all,  but  receiveth 
of  none  ;  it  cometh  nearer  to  the  goodness  of  God  to  have  a  heart  to 
give,  and  the  happiness  of  God  to  have  a  power  to  give.  Now  thus 
will  God  try  the  duty  of  the  rich  and  opulent. 

[2.]  For  the  poor,  they  are  upon  their  trial  too,  for  the  trial  of  their 
patience,  humility,  self-denial,  dependence  upon  God.  In  the  meanest 
station  we  may  do  service  to  Christ.  In  a  concert  of  voices  it  is  no 
matter  what  part  a  man  sings,  provided  he  sings  well,  treble,  mean, 
or  bass.  God  appointeth  to  every  man  his  condition ;  if  he  carry  it 
well,  he  is  accepted  with  God.  Grace  puts  both  upon  the  same  level : 
James  i.  9, 10, '  Let  the  brother  of  low  degree  rejoice  in  that  he  is  exalted ; 
but  the  rich  in  that  he  is  made  low.'  The  poor  man  is  not  to  be  sad  and 
dejected  if  God  hath  put  him  into  a  low  condition ;  but  to  be  well 
pleased  with  it,  as  it  giveth  him  advantages  of  submission  to  and  trust 
in  God  more  explicit ;  and  living  by  faith,  which  in  a  more  plentiful 
condition  is  obscure  and  hard  to  be  found.  Thus  God  hath  called  him 
to  a  glorious  estate  of  grace,  though  mean  and  low  in  the  world  ;  and 
he  who  hath  riches  and  honour,  and  all  commodities  in  this  life,  is  to 
rejoice  that  he  hath  a  humble  heart,  doth  not  lift  up  himself  above  others, 
being  mindful  of  the  changeableness  of  the  things  of  this  world ;  so  that 
grace  cureth  the  inordinacies  of  either  condition  :  '  Poor  in  spirit,'  Mat. 
V.  3  ;  reconcilable  to  a  low  estate. 

2.  That  when  others'  necessities  are  presented  to  us,  it  is  a  call  from 
God  to  exercise  our  love  and  charity  towards  them.  If  he  seeth  his 
brother  hath  need.    Affirmativa  non  lirjant  ad  semper;  positive  duties 


have  their  proper  season,  and  in  their  season  they  bind  :  *  As  we  have 
opportunity,  let  us  do  good  to  all  men,'  Gal,  vi.  10.  Now  one  season  is 
when  God  layeth  the  object  before  us,  and  their  case  is  brought  to  us 
by  sight  or  hearing :  Isa.  Iviii.  7,  '  When  thou  seest  the  naked  that  tliou 
cover  him,  and  that  thou  hide  not  thyself  from  thine  own  flesh.'  We 
are  to  search  out  the  hungry  and  needy ;  but  more  especially  when 
God  presenteth  them  to  us,  we  must  not  turn  away  the  face,  as  refusing 
to  see  or  own  or  to  take  notice  of  him  :  Job  xxxi.  19,  '  If  I  have  seen 
any  perish  for  want  of  clothing,  or  any  poor  without  covering  ; '  ready 
to  starve  for  want  of  meat,  or  perish  for  want  of  clothing.  When  God 
layeth  them  in  our  view,  or  bringeth  the  notice  of  them  to  our  hearing, 
surely  then  their  necessity  calleth  for  our  charity,  and  it  is  hardness  of 
heart  and  mercilessness  not  to  be  affected  with  it.  The  contrary  is 
represented  in  the  rich  man,  when  the  poor  man  lay  at  his  gate,  Luke 
xvi.  20 ;  though  he  fared  deliciously  every  day,  yet  the  crumbs  of  the 
table  were  not  given  him.  Therefore  consider  we  live  in  a  time  of 
wants,  and  distresses  are  multiplied,  war,  fire,  decay  of  trade ;  many 
feel  the  sad  effects  of  it.  If  you  be  not  ready  to  relieve  and  help  them 
to  your  power,  how  will  you  answer  it  to  God  in  the  day  of  your  ac- 
counts ?  It  is  made  a  heavy  charge.  Job  xxii.  7,  '  Thou  hast  not  given 
water  to  the  weary  to  drink,  thou  hast  withholden  bread  from  the 
hungry.'  Eliphaz  falsely  accused  Job  of  unmercifulness  and  sinful 
parsimony ;  but  when  God  doth  justly  accuse  of  these  things,  what  shall 
we  answer  ?  God  doth  try  us  by  daily  objects  of  charity  and  compas- 
sion. If  we  do  not  help  them,  we  omit  a  duty  in  its  season ;  when  we 
meet  with  convenient  objects,  this  grace  must  be  exercised. 

3.  This  ought  the  more  to  move  us,  if  the  necessitous  be  our  chris- 
tian brethren,  for  it  is  in  the  text,  *  seeth  his  brother  hath  need.'  We 
ought  to  do  good  to  all  sorts  who  are  real  objects  of  our  charity.  The 
necessitous  in  general  should  be  more  welcome  to  us  than  the  rich  who 
may  requite  us;  for  then  we  make  a  market  of  our  kindness  and 
courtesy,  if  kind  only  to  the  opulent  and  the  wealthy.  No ;  our 
sweetest  influences  should  fall  on  the  lower  grounds.  The  fashion  of 
the  world  is  to  be  obsequious  to  a  degree  of  servitude,  to  the  mighty, 
the  noble,  the  rich ;  as  all  waters  run  into  the  sea,  where  there  is  enough 
already.  We  must  do  good  to  all  that  need,  but  chiefly  to  the  brethren 
our  fellow-christians  :  Kom.  xii.  13,  '  Distributing  to  the  necessities  of 
the  saints.'  There  are  pauperes  diaholi,  the  devil's  poor,  those  that 
have  wasted  their  estates  by  luxury  and  prodigality ;  and  pauperes 
mundi,  the  world's  poor,  those  that«are  reduced  to  poverty  by  the  acci- 
dents of  the  present  life ;  and  pauperes  Christi,  such  as  fear  God,  who 
are  in  a  straitened  condition.  The  rule  is.  Gal.  vi.  10,  '  Do  good  to  all, 
especially  to  the  household  of  faith.'  To  all  the  wicked,  our  enemies 
not  excepted,  in  their  necessities.  But  then  the  members  of  God's 
family  and  household  are  in  an  especial  manner  obliged  to  love  one 
another,  and  to  be  beneficial  to  one  another  under  their  necessities  and 
straits,  into  which  God  doth  often  suffer  those  of  his  family  to  fall  for 
their  good,  if  they  profess  the  same  faith  with  us,  and  do  evidence  the 
reality  of  the  same  faith  by  a  holy  life  and  conversation  ;  for  this  is  a 
closer  relation  than  to  be  fellow-citizens  of  the  world,  fellow-servants, 
or  brethren  in  the  family. 

VeR.  17,  18.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  149 

4.  That  we  should  show  bowels  of  compassion  and  tenderness  to- 
wards others  in  their  distress,  for  in  the  text  it  is,  *If  he  shnt  up  his 
bowels  of  compassion  from  him.'  There  must  be  an  inward  affection 
and  disposition  accompanying  and  going  along  with  the  outward  act 
of  beneficence,  and  whatsoever  is  done  must  be  done  cordially  and  com- 
passionately, that  the  heart  may  ever  accompany  the  gift :  Ps.  xxxvii. 
21,  '  The  righteous  showeth  mercy  and  giveth.'  To  be  spectators  of 
the  miseries  of  others,  and  not  to  be  affected  with  them,  argueth  a 
marble  heart  and  iron  sinews :  Isa.  Iviii.  10,  '  If  thou  draw  out  thy 
heart  to  the  hungry.'  It  must  be  done  freely,  liberally,  and  compas- 
sionately: Eph.  iv.  32,  'Be  kind  to  one  another,  tender-hearted.' 
Tender-heartedness,  that  is,  commiseration,  must  go  along  with  our 
kindness, as  really  pitying  their  misery  as  if  it  were  our  own. 

5.  Though  charity  begin  in  the  heart,  it  must  not  cease  there.  God 
requireth  the  heart,  but  not  for  the  heart,  that  it  may  terminate  there. 
But  with  respect  to  these  acts  of  mercy  wherewith  God  is  delighted, 
three  things  are  required — (1.)  Love  and  pity  on  tlieir  wants  ;  that 
must  be  in  the  heart ;  (2.)  Kind  expressions  on  the  tongue  ;  (3.)  Then 
bountiful  acts  for  their  relief.  So  that  there  are  these  three  things, 
the  motion  of  the  heart,  the  expression  by  the  words,  and  effectual 
performance.  Without  the  last  all  else  is  but  counterfeit.  The  root 
of  charity  is  a  proneness  or  good-will  to  help  others,  but  that  lietli 
underground  and  out  of  sight.  Unless  it  appear  in  visible  fruits,  we 
cannot  tell  whether  we  have  it,  yea  or  no.  Suppose  it  appear  in  good 
words,  they  are  but  as  leaves,  and  we  count  that  a  barren  tree  that 
bringeth  forth  nothing  but  leaves.  Not  in  word  and  tongue  only, 
but  the  fruit  abounding  to  our  account  is  the  work  itself.  Therefore 
though  God  expecteth  bowels,  yet  bowels  must  put  us  upon  some 
further  act,  but  that  act  is  not  words.  God  will  not  be  paid  with  words 
instead  of  things  ;  but  God  expecteth  that  we  should  freely  impart 
what  we  have  and  can  do  for  our  neighbours'  good,  as  well  as  wish 
well  and  speak  well  to  them.  Love  must  show  itself  forth,  and  that 
not  in  speech  only  but  in  deed  ;  otherwise  we  only  seek  to  cover  a  false 

6.  To  withhold  and  deny  this  relief  argueth  a  defect  and  want,  not 
only  of  love  to  our  neighbour,  but  to  God,  '  How  dwelleth  the  love  of 
God  in  him  ?  ' 

[1.]  Because  the  love  of  God  and  his  children  are  inseparable,  they 
are  necessary  branches  of  the  same  law:  Mat.  xxii.  38,  39,  'This  is 
the  first  and  great  commandment.  And  the  second  is  like  unto  it, 
Thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbour  as  thyself ; '  1  John  v.  1,  '  Whosoever 
believeth  that  Jesus  is  the  Christ,  is  born  of  God  ;  and  every  one  that 
loveth  him  that  begat,  loveth  him  also  that  is  begotten  of  him.' 
Therefore  we  cannot  love  God  if  we  do  not  love  our  brother.  The 
same  law  that  requireth  the  one  requireth  the  other  ;  the  same  grace 
that  inclineth  to  the  one  inclineth  to  the  other  ;  the  same  reason  that 
enforceth  the  one  enforces  the  other.  God  for  his  own  sake,  and  his 
children  for  God's  sake,  because  somewhat  of  the  divine  nature  and 
excellency  of  God  is  in  them  ;  they  are  'the  excellent  of  the  earth,' 
Ps.  xvi.  3.  A  deep  sense  of  God's  love  to  us  begets  love  in  us  to  God 
again  ;  therefore  we  love  God,  and  everything  that  belongeth  to  God. 


[2,]  It  must  needs  be  so,  for  love  to  God  doth  formally  contain  or 
naturally  produce  this  love  to  our  brethren. 

(1.)  It  doth  formally  contain  it ;  for  our  love  to  God  is  not  a  fond 
affection  or  fellow-like  familiarity,  but  is  seen  in  our  profession  of  real 
respect;  which  is  manifested  in  imitation,  obedience  and  esteem. 

(1st.)  Imitation ;  for  love  doth  imply  such  a  value  and  esteem  of 
God,  that  we  count  it  our  happiness  to  be  like  him,  and  the  truest 
respect  and  affection  which  we  can  have  to  him  is  to  write  after  his 
copy,  and  to  study  to  resemble  our  Father.  Surely  they  cannot  be 
said  to  love  God  who  do  not  imitate  him,  are  not  merciful  as  their 
heavenly  Father  is  merciful,  Luke  vi.  36.  Now  God  openeth  his  hand, 
and  satisfieth  the  wants  and  desires  of  the  needy  and  indigent.  Do 
we  love  God,  and  count  this  a  perfection  in  God  ?  Surely  then  the 
impression  of  it  should  be  on  our  hearts.  I  would  not  have  you  pass 
over  this  lightly,  that  the  truest  love  of  God  lieth  in  imitation  of  him. 
If  the  great  demonstration  of  God's  love  to  us  be  to  make  us  like  him- 
self, surely  then  the  more  like  him  the  more  we  love  him,  1  John  iii. 
2 ;  for  our  love  answereth  his  love  to  us,  as  the  impression  doth  the 
stamp  or  seal.  Or  if  the  greatest  aim  of  the  creature  and  the  highest 
expression  of  our  love  to  God  be  conformity  to  him  now,  so  it  is  when 
love  is  most  perfect ;  it  doth  most  delight  itself  in  likeness  to  God  : 
Ps.  xvii.  15,  '  As  for  me,  I  will  behold  thy  face  in  righteousness :  I 
shall  be  satisfied  when  I  awake  with  thy  likeness.' 

{2d.)  Obedience  to  him,  for  his  love  is  a  love  of  bounty,  ours  is  a 
love  of  duty  :  1  John  v.  3,  '  This  is  love,  that  we  keep  his  command- 
ments ; '  John  xiv.  21,  '  He  that  hath  my  commandments  and  keepeth 
them,  he  it  is  that  loveth  me.'  Surely  he  doth  not  love  God  that 
doth  not  obey  him,  and  acteth  so  contrary  to  his  commands,  which 
call  everywhere  for  charity  and  mercy  to  the  bodies  and  souls  of 
men,  which  is  so  pleasing  to  God:  Heb.  xiii.  16,  'But  to  do  good, 
and  to  communicate,  forget  not,  for  with  such  sacrifices  God  is  well 

(Sd.)  Love  is  seen  in  an  esteem  or  transcendental  respect  of  God,  a 
respect  to  God  above  all  other  things.  Now  he  that  shutteth  up  his 
bowels  from  his  brother  in  necessity  doth  not  love  God  above  all,  for 
there  is  something  he  valueth  above  him,  and  is  loath  to  part  with  for 
his  sake,  and  that  is  this  world's  goods  :  1  John  ii.  19,  'Love  not  the 
world,  neither  the  things  that  are  in  the  world  ;  if  any  man  love  the 
world,  the  love  of  the  Father  is  not  in  him.'  Now  it  is  gross  love  of 
the  world  not  to  part  with  this  wOrld's  goods  when  God  calleth  for 
them.  Whosoever  loves  God  valueth  God's  favour  above  all  other 
things,  and  counts  himself  happy  enough  in  the  enjoyment  of  God, 
whatever  he  loseth  for  it  or  parts  with  for  it :  Ps.  iv.  6,  7,  '  Who  will 
show  us  any  good?  Lord,  lift  up  the  light  of  thy  countenance.  Thou 
hast  put  gladness  into  my  heart,  more  than  in  the  time  when  their  corn 
and  wine  increased  ; '  Ps.  Ixxiii.  25,  '  Whom  have  I  in  heaven  but 
thee  ?  and  there  is  none  upon  earth  that  I  desire  besides  thee.'  He 
that  will  not,  at  God's  instance  and  command,  part  with  these  things, 
the  poor  inconsiderable  trifles  of  this  world,  he  preferreth  the  world 
before  the  enjoyment  of  God  and  the  favour  of  God. 

(2.)  It  doth  naturally  produce  it,  partly  by  looking  to  what  is  past, 

VeR.  17,  18.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  151 

and  partly  to  what  is  to  come.  The  one  is  gratitude,  the  other  is 

{1st.)  Thankfulness  for  what  is  past ;  he  hath  done  so  much  for  us, 
that  we  should  he  willing  to  part  with  anything  for  his  sake.  There- 
fore when  the  apostle  would  have  them  prove  the  sincerity  of  their  love, 
2  Cor.  viii.  9,  he  argueth,  '  Ye  know  the  grace  of  our  Lord  Jesus 
Christ,  that  when  he  was  rich,  for  your  sakes  he  became  poor,  that 
through  his  poverty  you  may  be  rich.'  If  we  have  a  grateful  sense  of 
his  wonderful  mercy,  we  will  be  ready  to  make  some  return  of  affection 
to  God.  But  you  will  say,  How  is  charity  to  the  poor  any  return  of 
love  to  God  ?  Ans.  What  you  do  at  his  instance  and  command,  you 
do  to  God  and  for  God's  sake.  Now  God  commandeth  this,  and  he 
hath  devolved  our  respects  to  him  on  the  poor  and  indigent.  God 
taketh  it  as  done  to  himself  if  done  to  them  :  Mat.  xxv.  40,  45,  '  Verily 
I  say  unto  you,  Inasmuch  as  ye  have  done  it  unto  one  of  the  least  of 
these  my  brethren,  you  have  done  it  unto  me.'  And  the  apostle  teach- 
eth  us  that  we  show  love  to  his  name  when  we  minister  to  the  saints, 
Heb.  vi.  10.  He  taketh  it  as  an  expression  of  kindness  and  thankfulness 
to  himself,  which  is  given  to  his  servants. 

(2d)  Trust.  Love  looketh  to  what  is  to  come.  Surely  he  that 
joveth  God  trusts  him,  for  the  graces  are  connected.  Now  none  trust 
God  that  count  their  estates  safer  in  their  own  hands  than  God's,  that 
will  venture  nothing  on  his  promises :  Prov.  xix.  17,  '  He  that  hath 
pity  on  the  poor  lendeth  to  the  Lord,  and  that  which  he  hath  given 
will  he  pay  him  back  again.'  God  will  be  our  paymaster  :  Eccles.  xi. 
1,  'Cast  thy  bread  upon  the  waters,  and  after  many  days  thou  shalt 
receive  it ; '  Ps.  xxxvii.  26,  '  He  is  merciful  and  lendeth,  and  his  seed 
is  blessed.'  God  Avill  return  it  to  us  or  ours,  in  this  life  or  the  next. 
We  have  a  friendly  confidence  and  good  opinion  of  God  ;  we  dare 
take  his  word,  being  persuaded  that  he  is  able  and  willing  to  requite 
us  ;  but  they  that  shut  up  their  bowels  show  they  have  little  value  for 
God's  word,  and  do  suspect  his  goodness  and  truth,  which  is  not  con- 
sistent with  love.  You  will  adventure  nothing  in  his  hands,  and  then 
can  you  say  you  love  him  ? 

Use  1.  Information. 

1.  That  if  we  would  get  readiness  of  mind  to  help  and  relieve  others 
in  their  necessities,  we  should  increase  our  love  to  God  ;  for  the  shutting 
up  of  our  bowels  is  made  not  so  much  a  defect  or  want  of  love  to  our 
neighbour,  as  want  of  love  to  God.  If  you  did  love  God  more,  you 
would  love  the  poorest  of  God's  children,  and  the  meanest  of  your 
brethren  for  his  sake ;  and  love  will  easily  persuade  you  to  do  them 
good.  If  there  were  less  of  the  love  of  the  world,  and  more  of  the 
love  of  God,  then  it  were  no  great  matter  to  part  with  this  world's 
goods  for  another's  benefit  and  relief.  We  have  lessening  thoughts  of 
God,  and  too  high  thoughts  of  the  world,  when  we  shut  up  our  bowels 
from  the  necessities  of  our  poor  brethren. 

2.  That  we  should  not  reckon  our  love  to  God  by  deceitful  evidences, 
not  by  bare  outward  profession  of  the  true  religion  :  James  i.  27,  '  Pure 
religion  and  undefiled  before  God  and  the  Father,  is  to  visit  the  father- 
less and  widow  in  their  affliction,  and  to  keep  himself  unspotted  from 
the  world.'    All  other  religion  hath  an  evil  that  is  in  it,  a  spot  of  the 


world  on  it ;  but  Clirist's  religion  is  purity  and  charity,  not  by  gifts 
and  utterance  :  2  Cor.  viii.  7,  '  Therefore  as  ye  abound  in  everything,  in 
faith,  and  utterance,  and  knowledge,  and  in  all  diligence,  and  in  your  love 
to  us,  see  that  ye  abound  in  this  grace  also.'  Again,  you  must  not  only 
mind  acts  of  piety,  but  charity :  Mat.  ix.  13,  '  Go  learn  what  that  mean- 
eth,  I  will  have  mercy  and  not  sacrifice.'  To  sacrifice  is  to  serve  God, 
but  to  show  mercy  is  to  be  like  God.  Now  conformity  to  God  is  more 
.than  any  particular  act  of  external  obedience  to  him  ;  as  mercy  is  pre- 
ferred before  sacrifice,  so  before  the  external  observation  of  the  sab- 
bath. Yea,  mercy  not  only  to  the  souls,  but  bodies  of  men  ;  yea,  not 
to  men  only,  but  to  beasts,  as  to  help  a  beast  out  of  the  pit :  Mat.  xii.  11, 
12,  '  What  man  shall  there  be  among  you  that  shall  have  one  sheep, 
and  if  it  fall  into  a  pit  on  the  sabbath-day,  will  he  not  lay  hold  on  it,  and 
lift  it  out  ?  How  much  then  is  a  man  better  than  a  sheep  ?  wherefore 
it  is  lawful  to  do  well  on  the  sabbath-day.'  It  is  more  than  gospel  ex- 
ternals of  worship,  as  hearing  the  word  and  prayer,  comparing  external 
acts  with  external  acts  :  Luke  xiii.  26,  '  We  have  eaten  and  drank  in 
thy  presence,  and  have  been  taught  in  our  streets  ;  but  he  shall  say 
unto  you,  I  know  you  not.'  More  excellent  than  gifts  of  the  gospel ; 
the  gifts  of  tongues  and  healing  were  glorious  things  :  1  Cor.  xii. 
28-31,  '  After  that  miracles,  then  gifts  of  healing,  helps,  governments, 
diversities  of  tongues.  Are  all  prophets  ?  are  all  workers?  have  all  the 
gifts  of  healing?  do  all  speak  with  tongues  ?  do  all  interpret?  But 
covet  earnestly  the  best  gifts  ;  but  I  show  you  a  more  excellent  way.' 
I  cannot  say  it  is  above  the  graces  of  the  gospel,  faith,  and  hope, 
and  love  to  God,  yet  these  are  but  pretended  without  it :  1  John  iv.  20, 
'  If  any  man  say,  I  love  God,  and  hateth  his  brother,  he  is  a  liar ;  for 
he  that  loveth  not  his  brother  whom  he  hath  seen,  how  can  he  love  God 
whom  he  hath  not  seen  ?  '  1  Tim.  v.  8,  '  If  any  man  provide  not  for 
his  own,  especially  those  of  his  own  house,  he  hath  denied  the  faith,' 

3.  It  showeth  us  the  compassionate  nature  of  God,  since  he  so  strictly 
enforceth  compassion  in  others.  We  know  God's  nature  by  his  laws 
as  well  as  his  works.  Now  when  he  that  placed  so  much  weight  on 
this,  that  he  will  not  own  any  love  in  them  to  himself  without  it,  surely 
our  God  will  not  shut  up  his  bowels  in  our  destitute  and  low  condition. 
It  is  one  of  his  names,  2  Cor.  vii.  6, '  God  that  comforteth  those  that  are 
cast  down,' 

Use  2.  Is  to  exhort  us — 

1.  To  show  compassion  to  those  in  necessit}'. 

2.  To  show  it  not  in  word  or  tongue  only,  but  in  real  kindness. 

1,  To  persuade  you  to  mercifulness  and  charity.  A  cheap  profession 
of  the  name  of  Christ  will  do  you  no  good  ;  that  which  costs  nothing  is 
worth  nothing.     To  quicken  you — 

[1.]  Without  it  you  cannot  show  your  thankfulness  to  God.  Alms 
is  your  thank-offering  :  Heb.  xiii.  16,  '  But  to  do  good  and  to  communi- 
cate, forget  not,  for  with  such  sacrifices  God  is  well  pleased.'  God 
showeth  his  love  to  us  in  the  great  sin-offering,  we  to  God  in  this  thank- 

[2.]  Consider  the  many  promises  made  to  it :  Mat.  v.  7,  '  Blessed 
are  the  merciful,  for  they  shall  obtain  mercy.'  Compassion  to  others 
giveth  us  hope  and  confidence  of  the  Lord's  mercy  to  us,  which  is  a 

VeR.  17,  18.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III!  153 

g^reat  encouragement;  for  we  stand  in  need  of  the  daily  mercy  of 
God  :  Prov.  xxi.  18, '  Wlioso  stoppeth  his  ear  at  the  cry  of  the  poor,  he 
also  shall  cry  himself,  and  shall  not  be  heard  ; '  if  not  by  men,  not  by 

[3.]  Consider  what  mercy  Christ  hath  showed  to  you.  Christ's 
kindness  should  enkindle  the  bowels  of  compassion  in  us ;  he  showed 
compassion  to  you  at  the  dearest  rates,  and  loved  us  unto  death ;  and 
will  you  not  be  at  some  expense  in  your  love  to  the  brethren  ? 

[4.]  How  comfortable  it  is  for  the  present:  Prov.  xi.  17, '  The  mer- 
ciful man  doeth  good  to  his  own  soul ;  he  also  refresheth  the  souls  of 
others.'  See  the  verse  next  the  text,  '  And  hereby  we  know  that  we 
are  of  the  truth,  and  shall  assure  our  hearts  before  him.'  This  will 
yield  you  a  great  deal  of  comfort,  as  any  other  fruit  of  faith  or  act  of 

[5.]  This  will  make  your  reckoning  more  comfortable  hereafter  : 
Luke  xi.  41,  '  Give  alms  of  such  things  as  you  have,  and  behold  all 
things  shall  be  clean ; '  Mat.  xxv.  35-40,  '  For  I  was  an  hungry,  and 
ye  gave  me  meat :  I  was  thirsty,  and  ye  gave  me  drink :  I  was  a 
stranger,  and  ye  took  me  in :  naked,  and  ye  clothed  me:  I  was  sick,  and 
ye  visited  me  :  I  was  in  prison,  and  ye  came  unto  me.  Then  shall  the 
righteous  answer  him,  saying,  Lord,  when  saw  we  thee  an  hungry,  and 
fed  thee  ?  or  thirsty,  and  gave  thee  drink?  when  saw  we  thee  a  stranger, 
and  took  thee  in  ?  or  naked,  and  clothed  thee  ?  or  when  saw  we  thee 
sick,  or  in  prison,  and  came  unto  thee  ?  And  the  king  shall  answer 
and  say  unto  them.  Verily  I  say  unto  you,  inasmuch  as  ye  did  it  to  one 
of  the  least  of  these  my  brethren,  ye  have  done  it  unto  me.'  These 
will  be  the  inquiries  at  the  day  of  judgment ;  acts  of  self-denying 
obedience  must  justify  and  evidence  our  qualification  when  it  cometh 
to  be  judged. 

2.  To  press  you  to  real  kindness.     To  quicken  you  consider — 

[1.]  God's  love  towards  christians  is  a  hearty  real  love ;  he  not  only 
loved  us,  but  gave  us  the  proof  in  the  fruits  and  effects  of  it :  Rom.  v. 
8,  *  Herein  God  commended  his  love,  in  that,  when  we  were  sinners, 
Christ  died  for  us.' 

[2.]  At  the  last  day  we  shall  be  judged,  not  for  our  words  only,  but 
by  our  works  :  Rev.  xx,  12, '  And  I  saw  the  dead,  small  and  great,  stand 
before  God  ;  and  the  books  were  opened,  and  another  book  was  opened, 
which  is  the  book  of  life  ;  and  the  dead  were  judged  out  of  those  things 
which  were  written  in  the  books,  according  to  their  works,'  These 
will  be  the  questions  at  the  last  day.  Have  you  visited  ?  have  you  fed  ? 
have  you  clothed  ? 

[3.]  Lip-love  will  neither  do  thee  good,  nor  thy  brother  good.  Not 
thee  good  ;  in  no  other  grace  and  duty  are  words  taken  foi-  performance, 
so  not  in  this.  Not  in  the  general :  many  say  they  have  a  love  to  the 
brethren,  but  when  it  cometh  to  the  trial  wherein  it  is  evidenced,  there 
is  no  such  thing.  There  is  a  great  deal  of  tongue-kindness  abroad ; 
men  seem  to  be  all  made  up  of  love ;  they  boast  they  love  the  brethren, 
but  never  demonstrate  it  by  any  real  effect ;  like  the  carbuncle, 
which  at  a  distance  seemeth  to  be  all  afire,  but  come  to  touch  it,  and 
it  is  key-cold.  In  this  particular  expression  of  love,  mouth-mercy,  or 
giving  good  words  to  him  that  needeth,  The  Lord  help  you,  without 

154  SERMONS  uroN  1  JOHN  111,  [Ser.  XXIV. 

actual  relief,  is'nothing  worth ;  so  dotli  not  thy  brother  any  good  :  James 
ii.  15, 16,  '  if  a  brother  or  a  sister  be  naked,  and  destitute  of  daily  food, 
and  one  of  you  say  unto  them,  Depart  in  peace,  be  ye  warmed,  and  be 
you  filled ;  notwithstanding  ye  give  them  not  those  things  which  are 
needful  to  the  body,  what  doth  it  profit  ? ' 

[4.]  To  dissemble  in  anything  maketh  our  sincerity  in  the  main  ques- 
tionable ;  the  man  that  contents  himself  with  words  in  charity  will  con- 
tent himself  with  a  cold  dead  assent  in  point  of  faith,  and  a  cold  pro- 
fession instead  of  thorough  obedience ;  with  the  talk  of  virtue  and 
godliness  when  he  hath  it  not.  A  fruitless  love  and  a  cold  assent  that 
produce  no  obedience  are  near  akin,  and  both  are  little  worth.  Many 
would  not  dissemble  with  God,  but  do  they  love  men,  not  in  word  or 
tongue  only,  but  in  deed  and  in  truth  ? 


And  hereby  ive  know  that  toe  are  of  the  truth,  and  shall  assure  our 
hearts  before  him. — 1  John  iii.  19. 

The  words  contain  a  motive  to  quicken  us  to  love  the  brethren,  not  in 
word  or  tongue  only,  but  in  deed  and  in  truth.  The  motive  is  taken 
from  the  fruit  and  benefit,  which  is — (1.)  Propounded  ;  (2.)  Amplified. 
First,  Propounded,  '  Hereby  we  know  that  we  are  of  the  truth.'  To 
be  of  the  truth  hath  a  double  notion  in  scripture. 

1.  To  profess  the  true  religion  :  John  xviii.  37,  '  Every  one  that  is 
of  the  truth  heareth  my  voice  ; '  that  is,  owneth  the  true  religion ;  he 
rightly  understands  and  believes  the  truth  of  the  gospel. 

2.  To  be  sinceie  and  true  in  that  religion,  and  to  live  accordingly. 
There  are  some  christians  that  are  only  so  in  show  and  semblance,  or 
count  themselves  christians,  but  are  not ;  but  these  are  truly  born  of 
God,  and  such  as  they  profess  themselves  to  be,  '  disciples  indeed,' 
John  viii.  31  ;  sincere,  and  not  hypocrites. 

Secondly,  Amplified,  'And  shall  assure  our  hearts  before  him.' 
Where — 

1.  The  effect  and  fruit  of  knowing  that  we  are  of  the  truth ;  we 
'  shall  assure  our  hearts.' 

2.  The  strength  of  this  confidence,  '^Before  him,' 

1.  For  the  effect  itself,  '  persuade  our  hearts  ; '  so  the  margin  and 
other  translations.  By  confidence  in  God  we  shall  quiet  and  still  our 
consciences  ;  so  that  the  notion  here  is,  we  shall  have  our  hearts  secure 
and  confident.  A  soul  conscious  of  sin  raiseth  doubts  and  fears,  that 
when  our  qualification  is  evident,  we  are  perfect  as  to  the  conscience, 
Heb.  ix.  9.  The  word  is  so  taken  elsewhere :  Mat.  xxviii,  14,  '  We 
will  persuade  him,  and  secure  you;'  that  is,  pacify  the  governor,  and 
keep  you  from  punishment.  So  here  it  signifieth  to  render  our  hearts 
peaceable  and  quiet. 

2.  The  strength  of  this  confidence,  '  Before  him.'  We  are  said  to 
be  before  him  three  ways — 

VeR.  19.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  111.  155 

[1.]  In  our  ordinary  conversation:  Gen.  xvii.  1,  'Walk  before  me, 
and  be  thou  upright.'  In  this  sense  it  signifieth  our  walking  before 
him  in  a  holy  peace  and  security,  by  being  good  and  doing  good  ;  for 
this  is  the  evidence  whereby  we  assure  ourselves  that  we  are  the  true 
children  of  God :  Mat.  v.  45,  '  That  ye  may  be  children  of  your  Father 
which  is  in  heaven.' 

[2.]  When  we  come  before  him  in  prayer  and  other  holy  duties : 
ver,  21,  22,  'We  have  confidence  towards  God,  and  whatsoever  we  ask 
in  his  name  shall  be  given  us/  Which  signifieth  a  confidence  in  our 
prayer  to  him. 

[3.]  We  come  before  him  at  the  day  of  judgment ;  when  we  stand 
before  his  tribunal,  our  hope  will  not  leave  us  ashamed.  We  are  not 
afraid  of  being  convinced  of  any  hypocrisy,  or  not  observing  or  break- 
ing the  conditions  of  the  new  covenant :  1  John  ii.  28,  'That  we  may 
have  confidence,  and  not  be  ashamed  before  him ; '  1  John  iv.  17, 
'  That  we  may  have  boldness  in  the  day  of  judgment.'  So  that  hereby 
appeareth  the  strength  of  that  confidence  which  we  have  by  the 
exercise  of  a  holy  charity,  or  love  to  God  and  his  people ;  and  though 
the  thoughts  of  the  just  and  holy  God  stirreth  up  all  our  fears,  yet  we 
may  walk  comfortably  with  him,  and  draw  nigh  to  him  in  holy  duties 
with  more  cheerfulness,  and  finally  appear  before  him  with  boldness 
in  the  day  of  our  accounts. 

Doct.  That  graces  really  and  soundly  exercised  breed  in  us  assurance 
of  our  good  condition  before  God. 

The  point  will  be  made  good  by  these  considerations. 
1.  That  none  are  in  a  good  condition  but  those  who  are  adopted 
and  taken  into  God's  family,  and  made  heirs  of  eternal  life  and  happi- 
ness. Our  minds  cannot  be  quieted  by  anything  but  a  persuasion 
that  God  loveth  us  as  his  children  ;  this  is  the  whole  business  of  the 
context :  ver.  1,  2,  and  9, 10,  '  Behold  what  manner  of  love  the  Father 
hath  bestowed  upon  us,  that  we  should  be  called  the  sons  of  God ! 
Beloved,  now  are  we  the  sons  of  God  ;  and  it  doth  not  yet  appear  what 
we  shall  be  :  but  we  know  that,  when  he  shall  appear,  we  shall  be  like 
him,  for  we  shall  see  him  as  he  is.  Whosoever  is  born  of  God  sinneth 
not,  for  his  seed  remaineth  in  him ;  and  he  cannot  sin,  because  he  is 
born  of  God.  In  this  the  children  of  God  are  manifest,  and  the 
children  of  the  devil :  whosoever  doeth  not  righteousness  is  not  of  God, 
neither  he  that  hateth  his  brother.'  Get  that  persuasion,  and  all  the 
controversy  between  God  and  us  is  at  an  end.  And  the  reason  is  clear ; 
lie  that  taketh  God  for  a  judge  can  never  be  soundly  satisfied  and  live 
in  peace ;  but  he  that  taketh  God  for  a  Father  needeth  not  fear  to 
come  into  his  presence.  There  is  no  safety  but  in  God's  family,  and 
no  security  there  but  by  being  God's  children.  The  great  business  of 
the  Spirit  with  our  consciences  is  to  clear  up  this  to  us  :  Rom.  viii.  15, 
2G,  '  For  we  have  not  received  the  spirit  of  bondage  again  to  fear,  but 
we  have  received  the  spirit  of  adoption,  whereby  we  cry,  Abba,  Father. 
Likewise  the  Spirit  also  helpeth  our  infirmities  ;  for  we  know  not 
what  we  should  pray  for  as  we  ought ;  but  the  Spirit  itself  maketh 
intercession  for  us  with  groanings  which  cannot  be  uttered  ; '  Gal.  iv. 
6,  '  And  because  ye  are  sons,  God  hath  sent  forth  the  Spirit  of  his  Son 
into  your  hearts,  crying,  Abba,  Father  ; '  Eph.  i.  13, 14,  '  Iq  whom  ye 

156  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXIV. 

also  trusted,  after  ye  heard  the  word  of  truth,  the  gospel  of  your  sal- 
vation :  in  whom  also,  after  that  ye  beUeved,  ye  were  sealed  with  the 
Holy  Spirit  of  promise,  which  is  the  earnest  of  our  inheritance,  until 
the  redemption  of  the  purchased  possession,  unto  the  praise  of  his 
glory.'  The  great  business  of  our  Kedeemer  was  to  purchase  this 
privilege  for  us :  Gal.  iv.  5,  '  To  redeem  them  that  were  under  the 
law,  that  we  might  receive  the  adoption  of  sons ; '  John  viii.  36,  '  If 
the  Son  therefore  shall  make  you  free,  then  are  you  free  indeed.'  The 
great  privilege  we  have  by  baptism  as  a  sign,  by  faith  as  giving  us 
the  reality  :  Gal.  iii.  26,  27,  '  For  ye  are  the  children  of  God  by  faith 
in  Jesus  Christ.  For  as  many  of  you  as  have  been  baptized  into 
Christ  have  put  on  Christ.'  The  church  of  the  new  testament,  as  to 
her  outward  estate,  is  an  estate  of  sonship  or  adoption,  and  the  truly 
godly  have  the  real  effect  of  it ;  they  have  the  dignity,  privilege  and 
right  which  does  belong  to  the  children  of  God  :  John  i.  12,  '  To  as 
many  as  received  him,  to  them  gave  he  power  to  become  the  sons  of 

2.  We  must  cherish  no  confidence  of  our  adoption  but  what  will 
hold  good  before  God  ;  for  it  is  said,  we  must  assure  our  hearts  before 
him.  The  law  which  we  have  broken,  and  which  condemneth  us,  is 
the  law  of  God  ;  the  wrath  and  punishment  which  we  fear  and  have 
deserved  is  the  wrath  of  God  ;  that  which  is  the  true  proper  matter 
of  our  joy,  peace,  and  comfort  is  the  favour  of  God  ;  and  the  family  into 
which  we  are  admitted  is  the  family  of  God,  and  the  presence  into 
which  we  come  is  the  presence  of  God,  and  the  glory  which  we  expect 
is  the  glory  of  God  ;  the  punishment  which  we  must  undergo,  and 
must  determine  our  final  estate,  is  the  judgment  of  God.  He  is  the 
supreme  judge,  at  whose  sentence  we  must  stand  or  fall;  therefore  to 
him  we  must  approve  ourselves,  and  before  him  must  be  able  to  defend 
our  claim,  and  maintain  our  confidence.  It  is  easy  to  make  good  our 
plea  before  men,  but  not  so  before  God.  Take  all  the  senses  before 
explicated.  We  are  before  him  in  our  ordinary  conversation.  Sincere 
though  imperfect  sanctification  is  a  righteousness  that  will  hold  out 
before  God,  and  will  be  graciously  accepted  by  him  :  Luke  i.  74,  75, 
'  That  we  might  serve  him  without  fear,  in  holiness  and  righteousness 
before  him  all  the  days  of  our  life.'  A  christian  should  cheerfully 
serve  God  in  a  faithful  discharge  of  all  duties  towards  God  and  towards 
men,  as  remembering  that  he  is  always  in  his  sight,  as  the  witness, 
judge,  and  observer  of  all  his  actions  ;  therefore  we  must  still  '  labour 
that,  whether  present  or  absent,  we  approve  ourselves  to  him,  and  be 
accepted  of  him,'  2  Cor.  v.  9.  This  will  be  matter  of  comfort  to  us : 
2  Cor.  i.  12,  '  But  our  rejoicing  is  this,  the  testimony  of  our  conscience, 
that,  in  simplicity  and  godly  sincerity,  we  have  had  our  conversations 
in  the  world.'  And  partly  in  your  prayers.  Our  legal  fears  are  re- 
vived by  the  presence  of  God.  Cain  had  his  guilty  fears  ;  so  shall  we 
unless  we  be  sincere  ;  so  the  righteous  are  as  bold  as  a  lion  :  1  John 
iii.  21,  '  If  our  hearts  condemn  us  not,  then  have  we  confidence  towards 
God.'  When  our  hearts  do  not  condemn  us  of  any  insincere  walking, 
then  we  have  confidence ;  otherwise  we  are  shy  of  the  presence  of  God, 
as  David  when  he  had  sinned  hung  off  from  the  throne  of  grace: 
Ps.  xxxii.  3,  'When  I  kept  silence,  my  bones  waxed  old.'    And  Adam 

VeR.  19.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  157 

when  he  had  sinned  ran  to  the  bushes.  They  that  walk  crookedly 
crack  and  break  their  own  confidence,  and  cannot  look  God  in  the  face 
with  any  comfort ;  whereas  others  can  come  to  him  as  children  to 
their  father.  And  partly  as  it  importeth  our  appearance  before  him 
in  the  day  of  our  accounts.  The  sincere  have  a  confidence  that  will 
hold  out  then,  as  appeareth  by  their  constant  and  steady  cheerfulness, 
when  they  most  mind  his  judgment :  '  The  sinners  in  Zion  are  afraid, 
tearfulness  hath  surprised  the  hypocrite,'  Isa.  xxxiii.  14.  Pinching 
weather  maketh  the  unsound  feel  their  aches  and  bruises,  so  a  time  of 
eminent  judgments  is  grievous  to  them  ;  but  it  is  otherwise  with  the 
upright,  who  are  emboldened  by  a  good  conscience,  and  a  sense  of 
their  own  integrity  :  Ps.  cxii.  4,  '  Unto  the  upright  there  ariseth  light 
in  darkness.'  Not  only  after,  but  in  darkness ;  they  have  great  comfort 
in  their  greatest  perplexities  ;  yea,  when  God  summoneth  them  into 
his  immediate  presence  :  2  Kings  xx.  3,  '  Lord,  thou  knowest  that  I 
liave  walked  before  thee  with  a  true  and  perfect  heart.'  Hezekiah  was 
then  arrested  with  the  sentence  of  death.  A  christian  can  look  death 
in  the  face  with  cheerfulness,  and  comfortably  review  his  past  life, 
when  hypocrites  vomit  up  their  own  shame.  Yet  the  sincere,  though 
conscious  to  themselves  of  many  infirmities,  have  made  it  their  busi- 
ness to  honour  and  please  God. 

3.  Before  God  no  confidence  will  hold  good  but  what  is  founded  in 
the  double  righteousness  of  justification  and  sanctification ;  they  are 
inseparable,  and  go  together  in  the  dispensation  of  the  new  covenant : 
1  Cor.  vi.  11,  '  And  such  were  some  of  you;  but  ye  are  washed,  but  ye 
are  sanctified,  but  ye  are  justified  in  the  name  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  and 
by  the  Spirit  of  our  God  ; '  1  Cor.  i.  30,  'But  of  him  are  ye  in  Christ 
Jesus,  who  of  God  is  made  unto  us  wisdom  and  righteousness  and  sanc- 
tification and  redemption.'  Both  are  necessary,  and  have  an  influence 
upon  our  comfort  and  peace,  and  confidence  towards  God.  The  necessity 
of  them  appeareth  with  respect  to  both  covenants.  The  first  covenant, 
the  confidence  which  we  would  cherish  is  checked  and  choked  by  this 
objection,  Thou  art  a  sinner,  and  God  will  not  respect  sinners.  We 
answer  it  from  the  righteousness  of  ju.stification;  Christ  died  to  reconcile 
sinners  to  God.  Or  thus,  Thou  art  not  a  sincere  disciple  of  Christ ; 
to  this  we  oppose-  the  testimony  of  our  conscience,  'The  Holy  Ghost 
bearing  witness  therewith  concerning  our  sincerity.'  The  first  is  the 
primary  righteousness,  and  necessary  for  the  appeasing  of  God's  wrath  ; 
the  other  is  secondary  and  subordinate,  for  the  clearing  up  of  our  right 
and  claim.  The  righteousness  of  Christ  or  of  justification  procureth 
the  blessings  of  the  new  covenant  for  us ;  the  other  assureth 
them  to  us.  The  first  is  the  ground  of  our  favourable  acceptance 
with  God,  the  second  is  the  secondary  condition  and  evidence  of 
it.  The  ground  and  foundation  of  our  favourable  acceptance  with 
God  is  Christ's  merit,  mediation,  and  righteousness,  a})prehended 
by  faith  ;  but  the  evidence  is  our  sincere  walking,  otherwise  no 
certainty.  In  short,  there  having  been  a  breach  between  us  and  God, 
our  atonement  must  be  made.  So  '  God  was  in  Christ  reconciling 
the  world  to  himself,'  2  Cor.  v.  19.  There  was  the  foundation  laid 
for  our  acceptance  with  God;  as  in  ver.  21,  'He  was  made  sin  for 
us  who  knew  no  sin,  that  we  might  be  made  the  righteousness  of 

158  SEUMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXIV. 

God  in  him.'  Now  it  is  not  enough  that  the  atonement  be  made, 
but  the  atonement  must  be  received ;  that  breedeth  solid  peace,  Kom. 
V.  11  ;  and  it  is  conveyed  and  applied  by  the  Spirit  on  God's  part,  by 
faith  on  ours,  Kom.  v.  1  ;  then  the  atonement  is  received.  There  need 
also  sure  signs  to  persuade  the  conscience  of  the  reality  of  the  applica- 
tion, and  to  make  our  right  more  full  and  certain,  and  that  we  are  in 
favour  with  God,  which  cannot  be  otherwise  than  by  the  sincerity  of 
our  love  to  God  and  men,  Gal.  v.  6.  Clear  that  once,  and  you  may 
persuade  and  assure  your  hearts  before  him.  To  conclude,  both  the 
righteousness  of  justification  and  sanctification  is  a  righteousness  before 
him.  Of  justification  there  is  no  doubt  but  it  is  a  righteousness  before 
him,  there  is  no  appearing  before  God  without  it:  Phil.  iii.  9,  'And  be 
found  in  him,  not  having  mine  own  righteousness,  which  is  of  the  law, 
but  that  which  is  through  the  faith  of  Christ,  the  righteousness  which 
is  of  God  by  faith  ; '  Ps.  cxliii.  2,  '  Enter  not  into  judgment  with  thy 
servant,  for  in  thy  sight  shall  no  man  living  be  justified.'  It  is  true 
also  in  its  use  and  office,  of  the  righteousness  of  sanctification.  If  it 
be  sincere,  though  imperfect,  it  is  a  righteousness  that  will  hold  out 
before  God,  and  will  be  graciously  accepted  by  him  :  Luke  i.  6,  '  They 
were  both  righteous  before  God,  walking  in  all  the  commandments 
blameless.'  Though  our  guilty  fears  are  mainly  allayed  by  the  applica- 
tion of  the  blood  of  Jesus  Christ,  as  the  ground  and  meritorious  cause 
of  our  acceptance  with  God,  and  the  only  plea  that  we  have  against 
the  charge  produced  from  the  first  covenant,  yet  the  righteousness  of 
sanctification  is  at  least  an  evidence,  and  confirmeth  our  justification 
by  faith,  and  strengtheneth  our  plea  according  to  the  second  covenant. 
4.  The  righteousness  of  sanctification,  which  will  stand  before  God, 
consisteth  in  our  sincerity  :  '  If  we  be  of  the  truth,  we  may  assure  our 
hearts  before  him  ; '  so  it  is  in  the  text,  '  We  are  of  the  truth,  and 
assure  our  hearts  before  him.'  What  is  it  to  be  of  the  truth  ?  The 
truth  is  the  gospel,  called  '  the  word  of  truth,'  Eph.  i.  13,  John  xvii. 
17.  He  is  of  the  truth  that  understandeth  and  believeth  this  doctrine, 
called  knowing  the  truth  and  acknowledging  the  truth,  often  spoken 
of  in  the  scripture,  2  John  1,2,  2  Tim.  ii.  25  ;  and  feeleth  the  force 
and  efficacy  of  it  in  his  own  heart :  James  i.  18,  'Of  his  own  will  begat 
he  us,  of  the  word  of  truth;'  John  viii.  32,  'And  ye  shall  know  the 
truth,  and  the  truth  shall  make  you  free.'  And  then  expresseth  the 
fruits  of  it  in  the  course  of  his  life,  called  '  walking  in  the  truth,'  2  John 
4,  and  3  John  3,  4,  '  I  rejoiced  greatly  when  the  brethren  came  and 
testified  of  the  truth  which  is  in  thee,  even  as  thou  walkest  in  the 
truth.  I  have  no  greater  joy  than  to  hear  that  my  children  walk  in 
the  truth;'  namely,  as  they  follow  the  right  way,  and  are  true  disciples 
of  Christ.  Well,  then,  sincerity  of  obedience  is  our  grand  evidence 
and  qualification.  The  first  covenant  required  innocency  or  unsinning 
obedience,  the  second  uprightness  or  sincere  obedience :  Gen.  xvii.  1, 
'  Walk  before  me,  and  be  thou  perfect ; '  Ps.  xxxii.  1,  2,  '  Blessed  is 
he  whose  transgression  is  forgiven,  whose  sin  is  covered.  Blessed  is 
the  man  unto  whom  the  Lord  imputeth  not  iniquity,  and  in  whose 
spirit  there  is  no  guile.'  The  covenant  which  granteth  and  alloweth 
pardon  of  sins  alloweth  also  sincerity  as  our  qualification.  The  old 
covenant  bringeth  all  things  to  the  balance,  the  new  to  the  touchstone; 

VeR.  19.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  159 

there  our  graces  were  weighed,  here  tried.  Now  if  the  best  of  us  were 
put  into  the  balance  of  the  sanctuary,  we  should  be  found  wanting  as 
to  matter  or  manner  and  principle  or  aim,  and  then  who  could  be  saved? 
But  now  all  the  blessings  of  God's  family  are  entitled  to  the  upright  : 
Ps.  Ixxxiv.  11,  '  God  is  a  sun  and  a  shield,  and  grace  and  glory  will 
he  give ;  and  no  good  thing  will  he  withhold  from  them  that  walk 
uprightly.'  This  scripture  containeth  an  epitome  or  abridgment  of  the 
covenant  of  grace  ;  the  good  things  there  are  expressed  metaphorically 
and  literally.  Metaphorically  he  is  a  sun  and  a  shield  ;  blessings 
privative  and  positive  ;  a  sun,  the  fountain  of  all  good  ;  a  shield  to  keep 
off  all  evil  or  danger ;  provision  and  protection.  The  one  term  is  more 
verified  in  this  life,  the  other  in  the  world  to  come.  Literally  all  spiri- 
tual good  things  come  under  the  name  of  grace,  eternal  good  things 
under  the  name  of  glory ;  no  temporal  good  thing  will  he  withhold : 
Ps.  xxxiv.  9,  '  Tliere  is  no  want  to  them  that  fear  him.'  But  here  who 
are  the  qualified  parties  ?  The  sincere,  who  are  the  Lord's  delight ; 
the  sincere  in  faith,  the  sincere  in  love,  the  sincere  in  obedience ;  those 
who  are  what  they  seem  to  be,  and  profess  to  be  ;  these  are  the  capable 
subjects  of  grace  and  glory,  to  whom  God  will  be  a  sun  and  a  shield, 
and  to  whom  God  will  deny  no  good  thing. 

5.  It  is  no  easy  matter  to  make  out  our  sincerity,  or  to  establish  a 
solid  peace  and  comfort  in  the  soul.  This  I  gather  from  the  word 
'  assure,'  or  'shall  persuade.'  There  needeth  much  arguing  and  debat- 
ing the  matter  in  the  court  of  conscience,  and  we  need  sure  signs  to 
persuade  us ;  the  conscience  of  sin  is  not  easily  laid  aside.  Shyness  and 
stupidness  may  quiet  us  for  a  while,  but  a  solid  and  durable  joy  needeth 
a  good  evidence  and  warrant.  When  we  have  no  sense  of  sin  and 
danger  on  our  hearts,  it  is  easy  to  leap  into  a  false  peace,  but  an  awak- 
ened and  sensible  sinner  is  not  so  easily  nor  so  soon  established  ;  for 
the  upright  are  prone  to  self-accusings,  for  their  rule  is  exact,  and 
grace  and  love  would  fain  do  more  for  God  ;  and  grace  in  the  best  is 
but  weak  and  small,  and  the  remainders  of  sin  so  great,  active,  and 
troublesome,  and  the  operations  of  man's  soul  so  various,  confused,  and 
dark,  and  they  see  so  many  mistakes,  and  the  children  of  the  devil  so 
often  entitle  themselves  to  God,  John  viii.  44.  And  frequent  afflictions 
do  also  very  often  awaken  in  them  a  sense  of  sin,  and  all  the  reasonings 
of  their  minds  will  not  still  and  quiet  their  consciences,  so  that  the  Lord 
is  forced  to  come  in  by  powerful  and  authoritative  acts  of  grace,  and  in  an 
imperial  and  Godlike  manner  to  silence  those  doubts,  and  secure  and 
settle  a  sense  of  his  love  upon  our  hearts  :  Ps.  xlii.  7,  8,  '  Deep  calleth 
unto  deep  at  the  noise  of  thy  water-spouts  ;  all  thy  waves  and  thy 
billows  are  gone  over  me.  Yet  the  Lord  will  command  his  loving- 
kindness  in  the  day-time,  and  in  the  night  his  song  shall  be  with  me, 
and  my  prayer  unto  the  God  of  my  life.'  Ordinarily  we  have  a  good 
measure  of  grace  before  we  can  discern  the  truth  of  it.  A  working 
faith,  a  laborious  and  fervent  love,  and  a  lively  hope  cannot  lie  idle. 

6.  Though  it  be  difficult  to  make  out  our  sincerity,  yet  graces  really, 
constantly,  and  self-denyingly  exercised,  will  or  may  evidence  it  to  us, 
or  that  the  heart  is  sound  in  God's  statutes,  Ps.  cxix.  80.  Surely 
where  grace  is  deeply  rooted,  and  hath  a  predominant  influence  over 
our  actions,  so  as  it  can  countermand  contrary  desires  and  inclinations, 

160  •  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXIV. 

there  the  heart  is  sound  and  upright  with  God.  Now  where  this  is  found, 
which  the  context  speaketh  of,  it  makes  us  to  assure  our  hearts  before 

[1.]  A  real  exercise  of  grace.  Compare  this  with  the  verse  before 
the  text,  '  Let  us  not  love  in  word,  neither  in  tongue,  but  in  deed  and 
in  truth.'  A  man  may  talk  well  from  his  convictions,  nay,  from  a 
mere  disciplinary  knowledge  ;  but  to  do  well  needs  a  living  principle 
of  grace.  The  scripture  still  setteth  forth  graces  by  their  lively  opera- 
tion, for  a  dead  and  sleepy  habit  is  worth  nothing;  it  speaketh  of  the 
working  faith  as  carrying  away  the  prize  of  justification,  Gal.  v.  6.  As 
honouring  Christ :  2  Thes,  i.  11,  12,  '  Wherefore  we  pray  also  for  you, 
that  God  would  count  you  worthy  of  this  calling,  and  fulfil  all  the  good 
pleasure  of  his  goodness,  and  the  work  of  faith  with  power ;  that 
the  name  of  the  Lord  Jesus  may  be  glorified.'  The  laborious  love  is 
that  which  God  will  regard  and  reward  :  Heb.  vi.  10,  '  God  is  not  un- 
righteous, to  forget  your  work  of  faith  and  labour  of  love.'  So  the  lively 
hope  is  the  fruit  of  regeneration  :  1  Peter  i.  3,  '  Blessed  be  the  God  and 
Father  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  which,  according  to  his  abundant 
mercy,  hath  begotten  us  to  a  lively  hope,  by  the  resurrection  of  Jesus 
Christ  from  the  dead.'  That  which  sets  us  a-doing:  Acts.  xxiv.  16, 
'  And  herein  do  I  exercise  myself,  to  have  always  a  conscience  void  of 
offence  towards  God  and  towards  men;'  and  Acts  xxvi.  7,  8,  '  Unto 
which  promise  our  twelve  tribes,  instantly  serving  God  day  and  night, 
hope  to  come.'  Grace  otherwise  cannot  appear  in  the  view  of  con- 
science :  causes  are  known  by  their  effects  ;  apples  appear  when  the  sap 
is  not  seen.  It  is  the  operative  and  active  graces  that  will  discover 
themselves.  A  man  may  think  well  or  speak  well,  but  that  grace  which 
governeth  the  conversation  showeth  itself  to  have  a  deep  rooting  in 
tiie  heart. 

[2.]  It  must  be  constantly  exercised.  A  man  may  force  himself 
into  an  act  or  two ;  Saul  in  a  fit  may  be  among  the  prophets.  A  man 
is  judged  of  by  his  course  and  walk.  A  child  of  God  may  be  under 
a  strange  appearance  for  one  act  or  two ;  you  can  no  more  judge  of 
them  by  those  acts  than  you  can  of  a  bunch  of  grapes  by  two  or  three 
rotten  ones,  or  of  the  glory  of  a  street  by  the  sink  or  kennels.  So,  on 
the  other  side,  men  may  take  on  religion  at  set  times,  as  men  in  an 
ague  have  their  well  days ;  the  fit  of  lust  and  sin  is  not  always  upon  them. 
A  man  is  judged perpetuafacioi-um  serie,  but  God's  works  are  best  seen 
together.  Gen.  i.  31.  Surely  that  breedeth  peace  of  conscience  and  assur- 
ance of  salvation  :  Ps.  cvi.  3,  '  Blessed  are  they  that  keep  judgment, 
and  he  that  doeth  righteousuess  at  all  times.'  When  a  man's  conver- 
sation is  all  of  a  piece,  his  course  is  to  please  God  at  all  times,  not  by 
fits  and  starts,  and  in  good  moods  only.  This  is  the  mark  of  the  con- 
text, '  Whosoever  is  born  of  God  doth  not  commit  sin  ;  but  his  seed 
remaineth  in  him ;  and  he  cannot  sin,  because  he  is  born  of  God.'  An 
act  of  sin  is  as  monstrous  in  him  as  for  a  hen  to  produce  the  egg  of  a 
crow.  In  an  unsound  heart  there  are  very  uneven  and  transient 
motions  ;  their  lives  speak  contradictions.  Saul  at  one  time  puts  all 
the  witches  to  death,  at  another  time  he  himself  hath  recourse  to  one, 
namely,  the  witch  of  Endor.  Jehu  was  zealous  against  Ahab's  idolatry, 
against  Baal,  but  not  against  Jereboam's  idolatry,  the  calves  in  Dan 
and  Bethel, 

VeR.  19.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  161 

[3.]  Self-deny ingly  acted.  Good  words  are  not  dear,  'Be  warmed, 
be  clothed,'  The  apostle  speaketh  of  laying  down  our  life  for  the 
brethren,  of  opening  our  hands  and  bowels  for  refreshing  the  hungry 
and  clothing  the  naked.  So  proportionably  when  we  take  pains  to 
instruct  the  ignorant,  exhort  the  obstinate,  confirm  the  weak,  comfort 
the  afflicted.  Love  of  the  brethren  is  the  mark  in  hand,  and  produced 
liere  as  the  fruit  of  a  sincere  faith  ;  for  this  showeth  a  hearty  receiving 
of  God's  love,  when  it  hath  made  some  impression  upon  us,  when  we 
love  the  brethren  sincerely  and  heartily,  and  can  deny  ourselves  for 
God,  Do  3'ou  think  that  religion  lieth  only  in  hearing  a  few  sermons, 
in  a  few  drowsy  prayers,  in  singing  psalms,  or  reading  a  chapter,  or 
some  cursory  devotions  ?  These  are  the  means,  but  where  is  the  fruit  ? 
No;  it  lieth  in  self-denying  obedience.  These  are  the  acts  about 
which  we  shall  be  questioned  at  the  day  of  judgment,  Mat.  xxv.  Have 
you  visited  ?  have  you  clothed  ?  do  you  own  the  servants  of  God  when 
the  times  fjown  upon  them  ?  do  you  relieve  them  and  comfort  them 
in  their  distresses?  'Hereby  we  know  we  are  of  the  truth,'  Lip- 
labour  and  tongue-service  is  a  cheap  thing ;  and  that  religion  is  worth 
nothing  which  costs  nothing:  2  Sam.  xxiv,  24,  'And  the  king  said 
unto  Araunah,  Nay,  but  I  will  surely  buy  it  of  thee  at  a  price  ;  neither 
■will  I  offer  burnt-offerings  unto  the  Lord  my  God  of  that  which  doth 
cost  me  nothing.'  When  we  deny  ourselves,  and  apparently  value 
God's  interest  above  our  own,  then  our  sincerity  is  most  evidenced. 
And  every  one  of  us  is  to  consider  what  interest  God  calleth  him  to 
deny  upon  the  hopes  of  gloiy,  and  whatever  it  costeth  us  to  be  faithful 
to  God,  A  cheap  course  of  serving  God  bringeth  you  none  or  little 
comfort.  And  certainly  a  man  cannot  be  thorough  in  religion,  but 
he  will  be  put  upon  many  occasions  of  denying  his  ease,  profit,  honour, 
and  acting  contrary  to  his  natural  inclination  or  worldly  interests. 
Those  that  only  regard  the  safe,  cheap,  and  easy  part,  do  not  set  up 
Christ's  religion,  but  their  own:  Mat,  xvi.  24,  'Then  said  Jesus  unto  his 
disciples,  If  any  man  will  come  after  me,  let  him  deny  himself,  and 
take  up  his  cross  and  follow  me.'  Without  this  it  is  but  a  Christianity 
of  our  own  making. 

1.  That  graces  thus  really,  constantly,  and  self-denyingly  exercised 
leave  their  notice  and  impression  upon  the  conscience.  The  context 
speaketh  of  the  value  of  the  testimony  of  conscience.  Certainly  a  man 
.should  or  may  know  the  acts  of  grace  which  he  putteth  forth.  It  is 
hard  to  think  that  a  soul  should  be  a  stranger  to  its  own  operations:  1 
Cor.  ii.  11,  'There  is  a  spirit  in  man  that  knoweth  the  things  of  a  man;' 
a  privy  spy  in  our  bosoms,  which  is  conscious  to  all  that  we  do,  and 
can  reflect  upon  it,  and  judge  whether  it  be  good  or  evil ;  it  knoweth 
what  we  understand,  or  will,  or  purpose,  or  resolve,  or  do,  much  more 
when  we  do  thus  unifoimly  and  self-denyingly  act  for  God  ;  and  that 
ujjon  a  fourfold  reason — 

[1.]  Because  the  acts  of  grace  are  the  more  serious  and  important 
actions  of  our  lives.  Many  acts  may  escape  us  for  want  of  advertency, 
they  not  being  of  such  moment ;  but  when  a  man  is  to  settle  his  eter- 
nal interest  upon  a  sure  bottom  and  foundation,  and  to  establish  his  soul 
in  the  comfort  and  hope  of  the  gospel,  he  would  go  advisedly  to  work, 
and  considerupon  what  grounds  and  in  what  manner  this  work  is  carried 

VOL.  XX  [.  L 

162  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeK.  XXIV, 

on.  He  is  serious  in  his  faith:  2  Tiiu.  i,  12,  'For  I  know  whom  I 
have  believed,  and  am  persuaded  that  he  is  able  to  keep  that  which  I 
have  committed  to  him  against  that  day.'  Diligence  in  his  attendance 
upon  this  business :  Phil.  ii.  12,  '  Work  out  your  salvation  with  fear 
and  trembling.'  A  man  that  acteth  for  eternity  should  mind  what  he 

[2.]  All  acts  of  grace  are  put  forth  with  difficulty,  and  with  some 
strife  and  wrestling.  In  the  work  of  faith  a  humble  sinner  hath  much 
ado  to  bring  his  soul  to  a  resolution,  and  to  venture  all  in  Christ's  hand, 
and  to  settle  itself  in  the  belief  of  God's  power,  and  mercy,  and  word, 
and  promises  made  to  us  in  Christ ;  to  live  upon  the  hopes  of  an  un- 
known and  unseen  world.  For  if  it  were  an  easy  thing,  such  a  power 
were  not  needful,  as  is  spoken  of,  Eph.  i.  19, '  And  what  is  the  exceeding 
greatness  of  his  power.'  We  should  not  find  such  a  necessity  of  com- 
plaining of  unbelief,  Mark  ix.  24,  of  calling  upon  God  to  increase  our 
faith.  It  would  not  so  often  fail  as  it  doth  upon  every  temptation,  Luke 
xxii.  32.  And  what  is  said  of  faith  is  true  proportionably  of  all  other 
graces.  Self-love  and  carnal  prepossessions  hinder  the  love  of  God. 
Like  a  choice  flower  among  weeds,  so  is  love  to  the  brethren,' Master, 
spare  thyself.'  Now  things  difficult,  and  planted  with  much  opposition, 
must  needs  leave  a  notice  and  an  impression  of  themselves  upon  the 

[3.]  There  is  a  special  delight  that  accompanieth  acts  of  grace, 
because  of  the  excellency  of  the  objects  they  are  conversant  about  ; 
and  the  excellency  of  the  power  they  are  assisted  withal ;  and  the 
excellency  and  nobleness  of  the  faculties  they  are  acted  by.  Can  a 
man  be  seriously  dealing  with  God  about  pardon  of  sin,  and  eternal 
life,  and  not  find  sweetness  in  his  work  ?  Heb.  vi.  4,  5,  '  Who  were 
once  enlightened,  and  have  tasted  of  the  heavenly  gift,  and  were  par- 
takers of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  have  tasted  of  the  good  word  of  God, 
and  the  powers  of  the  world  to  come.'  Take  a  view  of  the  promised 
hope,  and  not  be  affected  with  it  ?  Heb.  iii.  6  *  Whose  house  we  are, 
if  we  hold  fast  the  confidence  and  the  rejoicing  of  our  hope  firm  to 
the  end/  There  is  a  peace  and  joy  in  believing,  Kom.  xv.  13,  excited 
in  us  by  some  impression  of  the  comforting  Spirit.  Three  words  are 
used  to  express  that  delightful  sense  which  the  soul  hath  in  the  exer- 
cise or  review  of  good  actions — comfort,  peace,  joy.  Comfort,  the 
nature  of  which  is,  that  it  doth  not  altogether  remove  the  evil,  but  so 
alleviates  it  and  assuages  it  that  we  are  able  to  bear  it.  The  trouble 
that  ariseth  from  the  sense  of  sin  aud  the  fear  of  God's  justice  is  not 
altogether  removed  and  taken  away;  yet  so  mitigated  and  allayed,  that 
we  are  enabled  to  wait  upon  God:  2  Cor.  i.  4,  'Who  comforteth  us  in 
all  our  tribulations,  that  we  may  be  able  to  comfort  them  which  are 
in  any  trouble,  by  the  comfort  wherewith  we  ourselves  are  comforted 
of  God ; '  and  to  go  about  our  duties  with  some  alacrity.  Peace 
implieth  comfort,  but  withal  a  more  full  degree  of  it ;  for  peace  doth 
so  calm  and  settle  the  consciences  of  God's  children,  that  they  are 
assaulted  either  with  none,  or  very  little  fears.  We  call  that  peace  in 
a  nation  when  they  are  not  troubled  with  foreign  war,  or  intestine 
tumults,  or  confusions,  for  some  long  space  of  time :  Phil.  iv.  7,  *  The 
peace  of  God,  which  passeth  all  understanding,  shall  keep  your  hearts 

VeR,  19.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  ITL  1G3 

and  minds,  tlivougli  Jesns  Clirist.'  Tlie  next  notion  is  joy  :  as  peace 
exceeds  consolation,  so  doth  joy  exceed  peace,  and  begets  a  more  not- 
able sense  of  itself  in  the  soul.  In  peace  all  things  are  quiet,  but  joy 
addeth  a  notable  pleasure  and  delight  of  mind.  In  peace  the  soul  is 
in  such  a  condition  as  the  body  when  nothing  paineth  it ;  but  in  joy 
the  senses  are  recreated  by  something  pleasing  to  them  :  so  the  soul  is 
feasted  with  spiritual  suavities :  1  Peter  i.  8,  '  Whom  having  not  seen 
ye  love,  in  whom,  though  now  ye  see  him  not,  yet  believing,  ye  rejoice 
with  joy  unspeakable  and  full  of  glory.'  Now  all  these  make  the  work 
of  grace  more  notorious  to  the  soul. 

[4.]  This  serious,  constant,  uniform,  self-denying  course  of  obedience 
will  evidence  itself;  for  though  conscience  be  unobservant  of  particular 
actions,  yet  the  course,  drift,  and  tenor  of  our  lives  cannot  be  hidden 
from  it :  he  that  in  a  journey  doth  not  count  his  steps,  yet  observeth 
his  way  ;  when  a  man  mindeth  the  business  of  going  to  heaven,  Phil, 
iii.  20 ;  of  approving  himself  to  God :  2  Cor.  i.  12,  '  This  is  our 
rejoicing,  the  testimony  of  our  conscience ; '  2  Cor.  v.  9  '  Wherefore  we 
labour,  that,  whether  present  or  absent,  we  may  be  accepted  of  him.' 

Object.  Why  then  do  so  many  good  people  want  assurance  ? 

Ans  1.  There  need  two  witnesses,  because  the  heart  of  man  is  so 
deceitful,  and  the  operations  thereof  are  so  various,  dark,  and  confused  : 
Jer.  xvii.  9,  '  The  heart  of  man  is  deceitful  above  all  things,  and  des- 
perately wicked,  and  who  can  know  it  ?  '  There  needetli  a  double  testi- 
mony, as  in  the  mouth  of  two  or  three  witnesses  everything  is  estab- 
lished. Now^  these  two  witnesses  are  our  consciences  and  God's  Holy 
Spirit :  Eom.  viii.  16,  '  The  Spirit  itself  beareth  witness  with  our  spirits 
that  we  are  the  children  of  God ; '  Kom.  ix.  1,  '  I  say  the  truth  in 
Christ,  I  lie  not,  ray  conscience  also  bearing  me  witness  in  the  Holy 
Ghost.'  The  testimony  of  the  Spirit  with  our  own  heart,  soul,  and  con- 
science, they  both  concur  to  establish  the  same  conclusion  in  the  same 
act  of  witnessing;  for  it  is  jointly  ascribed  to  the  Spirit  of  God  and 
the  spirit  of  man.  The  Spirit  of  God  doth  not  bear  any  such  witness 
apart  from  the  spirit  of  man  ;  or  when  this  doth  not  witness  also,  it 
doth  fortify  and  strengthen  the  witness  of  a  man's  own  spirit.  The 
heart,  soul,  and  conscience  of  a  man  doth  testify  to  him  that  he  desireth 
and  endeavoureth  every  day  to  serve,  please,  honour,  and  glorify  God. 
Hereby  the  Spirit  assureth  him  that  he  is  a  child  of  God.  Conscience 
will  not  give  this  witness,  unless  we  do  indeed  labour  to  be  complete 
in  all  the  will  of  God.  And  the  Spirit  witnesseth  with  conscience,  to 
give  vigour  and  certainty  to  this  testimony, '  My  conscience  also  bearing 
rae  witness  in  the  Holy  Ghost.'  As  when  the  waters  of  a  land-flood 
mingle  themselves  with  a  river,  they  make  one  and  the  same  stream, 
but  then  it  is  more  rapid  and  violent ;  so  this  conjunction  of  testi- 
monies raaketh  in  effect  one  testimony,  but  such  as  more  powerfully 
beareth  down  our  fears,  and  doubts,  and  jealousies.  A  christian  is 
thoroughly  settled  as  to  his  gracious  estate,  and  his  confidence  is  made 
more  firm  and  strong. 

2.  So  few  know  their  spiritual  condition  through  their  own  default ; 
for  otherwise  the  Spirit  is  ready  to  witness,  if  we  be  ready  to  receive 
his  testimony.     What  is  the  fault  of  christians  ?     A  fourtbld  fault — 

[1.]  Either  they  do  not  exercise  grace  to  the  life,  in  the  mortifying 

]  C4  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXIV, 

of  sin,  or  the  perfecting  of  holiness ;  and  therefore  the  remainders  of 
sin  are  active  and  troublesome,  and  grace  is  weak  and  small,  and  doth 
little  discover  itself  in  any  costly  and  self-denying  acts,  that  they  want 
the  sweetness  whereby  they  should  be  noted  and  observed.  Surely 
great  things  are  more  liable  to  sense  and  feeling  than  little  :  a  staff  is 
sooner  found  than  a  needle.  And  they  that  row  against  the  stream  of 
flesh  and  blood,  and  cross  the  inclinations  of  nature,  can  sooner  discern 
a  divine  spirit  and  a  power  working  in  them  than  others,  who  have 
not  so  perfect  a  conquest  over  the  carnal  nature  ;  as  the  valour  of  a 
soldier  that  boldly  encountereth  his  enemy  in  the  face  of  dangers  and 
oppositions,  than  one  that  fighteth  not  indeed,  but  lieth  hid  in  the 

[2.]  Or  they  do  not  examine  their  state,  and  heed  their  soul  affairs 
as  they  ought.  '  Know  thyself '  is  a  lesson  worthy  to  be  often  practised. 
The  scripture  biddeth  us  examine  ourselves,  1  Cor.  xi.  28,  and  2  Cor. 
xiii.  5,  '  Examine  yourselves,  whether  ye  be  in  the  faith.'  But  few 
return  upon  their  hearts,  and  look  inward.  The  soul  hath  its  experi- 
ence, or  a  thing  that  may  be  called  sense,  as  well  as  the  body,  but  most 
i-egard  it  not.  There  is  light,  peace,  joy,  or  trouble  and  doubtfulness, 
which  we  might  easily  find  out  if  men  would  reflect  upon  themselves. 

[3.]  Or  if  they  examine  their  state,  they  do  it  in  a  wrong  way  ;  as 
sometimes  they  make  those  to  be  marks  to  try  by,  which  are  only  marks 
to  aim  at ;  and  so  by  consequence  that  is  often  made  matter  of  doubt- 
ing, which  should  only  be  matter  of  humiliation  ;  or  else  they  look  so 
much  to  what  they  should  be,  as  not  to  observe  what  they  have  already, 
or  may  forget  what  is  behind  to  quicken  their  diligence,  Phil.  iii.  13. 
But  we  must  not  forget,  in  judging  our  condition,  to  own  the  grace  we 
liave,  for  we  must  not  '  desi)ise  the  day  of  small  things,'  Zech.  iv.  10. 
The  spouse  owneth  grace  in  the  midst  of  infirmities :  Cant.  v.  2,  '  I 
sleep,  but  my  heart  waketh.'  We  come  short  of  what  we  should  have, 
but  have  we  anything  of  God  in  our  souls  ?  We  observe  our  diseases 
more  than  our  healths;  so  doth  a  gracious  heart  his  sins  and  infirmities, 
but  not  the  good  things  found  in  him. 

[4.]  In  the  general,  laziness  is  the  cause :  2  Peter  i,  10,  '  Give  all 
diligence  to  make  your  calling  and  election  sure  ; '  Heb.  vi.  11,  '  And 
we  desire  that  every  one  of  you  do  show  the  same  diligence  to  the  full 
assurance  of  hope  to  the  end  ; '  2  Peter  iii.  14,  '  Be  diligent,  that  you 
may  be  found  of  him  in  peace,  without  spot,  and  blameless.'  The  com- 
forts of  the  Spirit  never  drop  into  the  lazy  soul.  When  you  have  it, 
so  far  as  you  neglect  your  duty,  so  far  the  sense  may  abate.  God  in 
wisdom  withdraweth  his  comforts  to  awaken  and  quicken  his  children 
to  their  duty. 

Use  1.  To  inform  us,  that  the  grounds  of  a  well-tempered  assurance 
are  clear  and  positive:  'Hereby  we  know  that  we  are  of  the  truth,  and 
shall  assure  our  hearts  before  him.'  Foolish  presumption  costs  nothing ; 
like  mushrooms,  it  groweth  up  in  a  night,  or  as  Jonah's  gourd;  we  did 
not  labour  for  it ;  it  cometh  upon  them  they  know  not  how  or  why. 
The  less  such  men  exercise  themselves  to  godliness,  the  more  confident; 
but  exercise  would  discover  their  unsoundness  ;  a  peace  that  groweth 
upon  us  we  know  not  how,  and  is  better  kept  by  negligence  than  dili- 
gence, is  not  right :  '  Hereby  we  know,  and  this  is  my  rejoicing,  the 

VeR.  20,]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  165 

testimony  of  my  conscience.'     Premature  persuasions  are  very  rife  ; 
how  comest  thou  by  it  so  soon,  my  sou  ? 

2.  That  to  languish  after  comforts,  and  neglect  duty,  is  a  foolish 
course ;  many  bestow  their  time  in  foolish  complaints,  better  be  hard 
at  work ;  complaining  will  not  bring  it  to  you  so  soon  as  active 
diligence.  Oh,  that  we  were  sure  of  heaven  and  happiness !  Oh,  that 
we  knew  what  shall  become  of  us  to  all  eternity  !  Lazy  wishes  will  do 
no  good,  up  and  be  doing  ;  it  will  not  come  by  a  cold  velleity,  a  slight 
prayer,  a  customary  sigh,  or  a  faint  and  lazy  pursuit,  but  by  an  inde- 
fatigable diligence,  and  unwearied  watchfulness. 

3.  It  informeth  us  that  not  only  trying  of  grace,  but  exercising  of 
grace,  is  necessary  to  our  comfort  and  peace.  Many  are  taken  up  in 
trying  and  inquiring  whether  they  have  saving  grace  or  no,  whilst  they 
neglect  the  exercise  of  grace  in  a  self-denying  way.  I  would  not  dis- 
courage self-reflection.  Oh,  that  we  could  gain  the  world  more  to  this  ! 
but  this  I  must  say,  that  doing  good  to  the  household  of  faith,  and  to 
all  as  we  find  occasion,  is  a  more  evident  and  explicit  way  ;  and  that 
in  general  it  is  a  more  excellent  spirit  to  consider  what  we  must  be,  to 
lie  under  the  conscience  of  that,  than  to  consider  what  we  are  and 
what  we  have  been.  Working  will  discover  it  sooner  than  bare  trying, 
duty  rather  than  comfort. 

4.  That  the  popish  doctrine  is  false,  that  asserts  that  it  is  impossible 
to  have  the  certainty  of  salvation  :  '  Hereby  we  know  we  are  of  the 
truth,  and  shall  assure  our  hearts  before  him.' 

Use  2.  To  exhort  us,  if  we  would  live  in  a  holy  security  and  peace, 
let  us  not  only  be  good,  but  do  good ;  let  us  not  only  love  God,  but  his 
people,  not  only  '  in  word  and  tongue,  but  in  deed  and  in  truth,'  &c. 


For  if  our  hearts  condemn  vs,  God  is  greater  than  our  hearts,  and 
knoioeih  all  things. — 1  John  iii,  20. 

The  apostle  had  spoken  in  the  former  verse  of  assuring  our  hearts 
before  him ;  now  we  cannot  assure  our  hearts  before  God,  against  all 
fears  of  his  wrath,  or  persuade  ourselves  that  we  are  his  children,  if  we 
be  conscious  to  ourselves  of  any  insincerity,  or  unworthy  dealing  in 
point  of  love  to  God  or  men  ;  much  dependeth  upon  the  testimony  and 
verdict  of  conscience,  either  as  to  our  condemnation  or  absolution  and 
acquitment.  He  beginneth  with  the  condemning  conscience  in  the 
text,  and  then  showeth  the  privilege  of  an  absolving  conscience,  ver. 
21.  The  voice  of  conscience  is  the  voice  of  God ;  if  our  hearts  con- 
demn or  acquit,  so  will  God  for  the  most  part.  We  are  now  upon  the 
condemning  act  of  conscience ;  if  our  hearts  condemn  us,  God  will 
much  more.  By  the  heart  is  meant  conscience ;  as  1  Sam.  xxiv.  5, 
'David's  heart  smote  him,'  that  is,  his  conscience;  so  Job  when  he 
would  not  quit  his  claim  of  being  an  upright  man,  chap  xxvii.  6,  saith, 


'  My  heart  shall  not  reproach  me  as  long  as  I  live.'  The  heart  hath  a 
reproaching,  a  condemning  power,  and  j iidgeth  against  a  man  when  he 
is  not  right  with  God.  In  short,  heart-smitings  and  heart-reproach- 
ings  are  nothing  else  but  checks  of  conscience.  '  If  our  hearts  condemn 
us,'  &c. 

In  the  words  take  notice  of  a  comparison  between  the  judgment 
of  God  and  the  judgment  of  conscience;  they  agree  and  disagree  in 
many  things. 

1.  They  agree  in  that  both  are  privy  to  all  our  actions :  there  is  a 
secret  spy  within  us,  that  observeth  all  that  we  speak,  or  think,  or  do  : 
*  The  spirit  of  a  man  within  him  knoweth  the  things  of  a  man,'  1  Cor. 
ii.  11.  So  doth  God  know  all  things:  Heb.  iv.  12,  'For  the  word  of 
God  is  quick  and  powerful,  and  sharper  than  any  two-edged  sword, 
piercing  even  to  the  dividing  asunder  of  soul  and  spirit,  and  of  the 
joints  and  marrow,  and  is  a  discerner  of  the  thoughts  and  intents  of 
the  heart.'  And  where  the  matter  requireth  it,  they  both  condemn  ; 
conscience  condemneth  the  sinner,  or  the  partial  obedience  of  hypocrites; 
so  doth  God,  he  ratifieth  the  sentence. 

2.  They  disagree  or  differ  in  two  things — (1.)  Greatness;  (2.) 

[1.]  Greatness.  '  God  is  greater  than  our  hearts.'  The  same  expres- 
sion is  used.  Job  xxxiii.  12, '  God  is  greater  than  man  ; '  it  is  a  reason 
of  submission  to  God's  providence.  God  judge th  more  exactly  of  things 
than  we  do  ;  his  authority  is  greater.  God  is  the  supreme  judge,  con- 
science is  but  his  deputy.  God's  sentence  is  decisive,  whence  there  is 
no  appeal :  1  Cor.  iv.  4,  '  For  I  know  nothing  by  myself,  yet  I  am  not 
hereby  justified  ;  but  he  that  judgeth  me  is  the  Lord.'  The  cause 
must  be  reviewed  and  judged  in  a  higher  court.  Greater  in  point  of 
purity  and  holiness ;  we  have  but  a  drop  of  indignation  against 
sin,  God  an  ocean.  His  displacency  against  sin  is  greater  :  Hab.  i.  13, 
'  He  is  of  purer  eyes  than  to  behold  iniquity ; '  Isa.  iii.  8, '  Their  doings 
are  against  the  Lord,  to  provoke  the  eyes  of  his  glory.'  Greater  in 
point  of  power  ;  conscience  leaveth  an  impression  suitable  to  the  evi- 
dence it  giveth :  Pro  v.  xviii.  13,  '  The  spirit  of  a  man  will  sustain  his 
infirmity,  but  a  wounded  spirit  who  can  bear  ?  '  But  it  is  a  dreadful 
thing  to  be  condemned  of  God,  who  hath  such  power  to  execute  his 
sentence :  Heb.  x.  31,  '  It  is  a  fearful  thing  to  fall  into  the  hands  of 
the  living  God.' 

[2.]  In  point  of  knowledge.  Conscience  in  many  things  is  blind, 
partial,  inattentive,  insensible,  but  none  of  these  things  can  be  imagined 
in  God,  he  knoweth  all  things.  Therefore  since  the  business  is  to  be 
transacted  before  him,  and  not  before  man,  we  had  need  look  to  it,  that 
we  may  assure  our  hearts  before  him. 

(1.)  He  seeth  more  clearly;  he  not  only  knoweth  all  things  that  we 
can  know  of  ourselves,  but  knoweth  more  things  against  us  than  our 
hearts  know,  and  so  God  cannot  be  deceived :  Ps.  xix.  12,  '  Who  can 
understand  his  errors  ?  Lord  cleanse  thou  me  from  secret  sins.'  No 
man  knoweth  a  man  so  well  as  his  conscience,  but  the  conscience  doth 
not  so  well  know  him  as  God  knoweth  him ;  his  knowledge  is  infinite, 
and  pierceth  to  our  very  thoughts  and  the  secret  motions  of  the  heart. 

(2.)  He  heareth  more  exactly.  There  is  a  partiality  in  our  knowledge, 

VeR.  20.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  167 

we  overlook  the  evil,  being  blinded  by  self-love,  but  the  Lord  weigheth 
the  spirits,  Prov.  xvi.  2,  puts  them  into  the  balance  of  the  sanctuary, 
and  coDsidereth  all  the  circumstances, 

(3.)  He  judgeth  more  impartially  ;  we  mistake  sins  for  graces,  and 
so  bring  in  a  false  verdict:  Luke  xvi.  15,  'Ye  are  they  which  justify 
yourselves  before  men  ;  but  God  knoweth  your  hearts  ;  for  that  which 
is  highly  esteemed  amongst  men  is  an  abomination  in  the  sight  of  God.' 
We  are  deceived  with  a  false  show  ;  we  take  a  brier  for  a  rose,  yea,  many 
times  a  toad  for  a  lark ;  but  God  cannot  be  thus  deceived,  but  judgeth 
according  to  the  nature  of  things. 

Doct  That  a  man's  unsound  estate  is  much  discovered  to  himself, 
or  determined  by  the  judgment  of  his  own  conscience. 

If  our  heart  condemn  us ;  that  is,  our  conscience  ;  and  every  man  by 
his  own  heart  and  conscience  is  generally  acquitted  or  condemned. 

Here  I  shall  demonstrate  to  you — 

1.  That  there  is  such  a  faculty  as  conscience,  whose  office  it  is  to 
judge  of  our  estate. 

2.  The  value  of  this  judgment,  that  it  ought  to  be  well  weighed, 
when  our  hearts  condemn  us  of  insincere  dealings  in  point  of  duty 
towards  God  or  man. 

I.  The  nature  and  office  of  conscience;  certainly  there  is  such  a 
faculty  as  conscience.  Science  is  one  thing,  and  conscience  is  another  : 
science  is  a  knowledge  of  other  things,  conscience  is  the  knowledge  of 
ourselves.  Conscience  is  the  knowledge  of  a  man's  state  and  ways  ;  to 
know  what  we  are  to  do,  and  what  we  have  done,  that  is  conscience. 
It  is  the  judgment  of  a  man  concerning  himself  with  respect  to  reward 
and  punishment.  God,  that  is  our  Lord,  is  also  our  proper  judge  ; 
but  it  pleaseth  him  to  erect  a  tribunal  within  a  man  in  his  own  bosom, 
and  to  make  him  his  own  judge :  conscience  is  a  judge,  yet  but  a 
deputy-judge  accountable  to  God,  This  much  conduceth — (1.)  To 
the  glory  of  God  ;  (2.)  To  the  safety  of  man. 

1.  To  the  glory  of  God,  and  that  in  two  regards,  as  an  evidence 
of  his  being,  and  a  vindication  of  the  righteousness  of  his  judicial 

[1.]  As  an  evidence  of  his  being,  for  his  law  is  the  ground  of  all 
conscience,  and  it  is  before  his  tribunal  that  it  doth  accuse  and  acquit 
us,  and  his  sentence  that  we  wait  for  or  dread,  and  stand  in  fear  of. 
Why  should  we  scruple  this  or  that,  if  there  be  not  a  God,  by  whose 
will  good  and  evil  are  distinguished  ?  To  whom  doth  it  accuse  us 
l)ut  to  God  ?  Why  is  conscience  sometimes  afraid,  sometimes  com- 
forted, if  there  were  no  God  to  mind  things  here  below  ?  We  find 
conscience  appalleth  the  stoutest  sinners,  after  the  commitment  of 
some  offences,  though  they  be  secret,  and  beyond  the  cognisance  and 
vengeance  of  man  :  Ps.  liii.  5  '  They  feared  where  no  fear  was  ; '  that 
is,  no  outward  cause  of  fear,  where  none  sought  to  hurt  them  ;  accus- 
ing themselves  where  none  else  could  accuse  them  ;  as  Joseph's 
brethren,  Gen.  xlii.  21  ;  or  where  none  had  power  to  reach  them  ;  as 
many  worldly  potentates  feel  the  stings  of  conscience  as  well  as  others. 
Felix  trembled  who  was  the  judge,  when  Paul  the  prisoner  preached 
to  him.  Acts  xxiv.  2.5.  What  is  the  reason  of  this,  but  that  they  know 
there  is  a  supreme  judge  and  avenger? 

1G8  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.         [SeR.  XXV. 

[2.]  To  vindicate  the  righteousness  of  his  judicial  proceedings. 
Self-accusers  and  self-condemners  have  no  reason  to  quarrel  with  God, 
and  impeach  his  justice.  Man  hath  principles  and  sentiments  graven 
upon  his  heart,  which  justify  all  God's  dealings  with  him:  Luke  xix. 
22,  '  Out  of  thine  own  mouth  will  I  judge  thee,  thou  wicked  and 
slothful  servant;'  Ps.  li.  4,  'That  thou  mayest  be  justified  when 
thou  speakest,  and  clear  when  thou  judgest.'  Surely  self-condemners, 
Titus  iii.  11,  are  without  excuse,  Kom.  i.  20,  and  have  no  reason  to 
murmur  at  God's  proceedings  with  them.  Hence  there  are  frequent 
appeals  to  conscience  in  scripture :  Isa.  v.  3,  4,  '  Judge  between  me 
and  my  vineyard,  what  could  have  been  done  more  to  my  vineyard 
which  I  have  not  done  ? '  So  that  by  conscience  man  is  better 
induced  to  give  a  testimony  to  God  concerning  his  judicial  proceed- 
ings, and  the  righteousness  of  all  his  dealings  with  men. 

2.  The  safety  and  benefit  of  man,  that  he  may  have  an  oracle  in  his 
own  bosom  to  direct  him  to  his  duty,  and  to  warn  him  of  his  danger. 
In  scripture  we  shall  find  two  offices  of  conscience,  to  direct  and 
censure,  to  judge  by  order  of  law  and  right ;  dejiire,  what  we  ought 
to  do,  and  de  facto,  what  you  have  done,  or  what  you  are :  and  if  it 
fail  in  the  one  part,  it  is  a  blind  and  erring  conscience;  aud  if  it  fail 
in  the  other,  it  is  a  dead  and  sleepy  conscience.  You  shall  see  con- 
science is  spoken  of  in  scripture  both  ways.  As  instructing  us  in  our 
duty :  Ps.  xvi,  7,  '  My  reins  instruct  me  in  the  night  season  ; '  that  is, 
showed  hira  his  duty,  and  how  he  was  concerned  in  the  law  of  God,  or 
the  rule  which  he  had  given  to  his  creatures.  And  as  it  showeth  us 
what  to  do,  so  it  reflecteth  upon  what  we  have  done :  if  evil,  it  smiteth 
us  for  it,  as  David's  heart  smote  him  for  numbering  the  people, 
2  Sam.  xxiv.  10.  If  good,  it  cheereth  us  with  it:  2  Cor.  i.  12,  'For 
our  rejoicing  is  this,  the  testimony  of  our  conscience.'  It  smiteth  us  as  it 
exciteth  fear  of  punishment ;  it  cheereth  us  as  it  stirreth  up  hope  of 
reward :  and  hereby  we  do  very  much  understand  how  [God  standeth 
affected  towards  us.  In  short,  conscience,  as  to  the  censuring  part, 
judgeth  either  of  act  or  state  ;  particular  acts  whether  good  or  evil ;  so 
it  doth  accuse  or  excuse  by  turns,  Rom.  ii.  15.  As  to  our  state,  if  it  be 
good  :  Heb.  xiii.  18,  '  We  trust  we  have  a  good  conscience,  willing  in 
all  things  to  live  honestly.'  The  drift  and  course  was  for  God,  and 
the  performance  of  their  duty  to  him.  Bad  or  evil :  Rora.  i.  32,  '  They 
that  do  such  things,  count  themselves  worthy  of  death  ; '  that  is,  not 
only  as  deserving  it,  but  as  liable  to  it.  Now  it  is  for  our  benefit, 
that  we  should  have  such  a  faculty  to,  direct,  and  mind  us  of  our  duty, 
which  we  are  too  apt  to  forget.  So  also  to  censure  our  acts,  that  we 
may  be  humbled  for  them  if  they  be  evil,  or  continue  them  if  they  be 
good.  Our  estate,  that  we  may  enjoy  the  comfort  of  it,  before  we 
enjoy  the  full  reward  of  it,  if  it  be  good  ;  or  may  remedy  it,  and  break 
oft'  our  sinful  course  if  it  be  evil,  while  we  are  capable  of  a  remedy. 

II.  The  value  of  this  judgment,  and  how  much  it  should  be  re- 
garded by  us. 

1.  In  respect  of  ourselves,  because  it  is  so  intimate  to  us.  Conscience 
is  God's  spy  in  our  bosoms,  and  man's  overseer ;  it  being  so  well  ac- 
quainted with  us,  it  can  give  a  better  judgment  of  us  than  anything 
else  can.     The  judgment  of  the  world,  either  by  way  of  applause  or 

VeR.  20.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  iir.  169 

censure,  is  not  so  much  to  be  regarded  by  us.  The  apostle  calleth  it 
the  spirit  of  a  man  within  him,  1  Cor.  ii.  11,  Though  our  life  be 
never  so  fair  that  no  man  can  condemn  us,  and  our  words  and  deeds 
do  not  betra)'  us,  yet  if  our  hearts  condemn  us  of  secret  hypocrisy,  and 
want  of  love  to  God,  God  will  much  more,  who  knoweth  more  of  us 
than  we  do  of  ourselves.  Besides,  this  judge  cannot  be  suspected  of 
rigour,  partiality,  and  ill-will  ;  for  what  is  dearer  to  ourselves  than 
ourselves  ?  and  therefore,  if  our  own  hearts  condemn  us,  what  shall  be 
said  for  us  ? 

2.  Its  relation  to  God  ;  it  is  God's  deputy-judge,  and  in  the  place  of 
God  to  us  ;  called  'the  candle  of  the  Lord,'  Prov.  xx.  27.  And  there- 
fore if  it  convince  us,  and  accuse  us,  and  condemn  us,  especially  when 
we  profess  and  pretend  to  sincerity  ;  have  we  not  cause  to  suspect 
ourselves  ?  for  it  is  God's  vicegerent,  and  sitteth  in  the  throne  of  God  ; 
and  we  may  know  much  of  his  mind  by  the  voice  and  report  of  con- 
science. Next  to  the  judgment  and  sentence  of  God,  a  man  should 
reverence  the  judgment  and  sentence  of  his  own  heart.  Doth  conscience 
acquit  or  condemn  ?  so  usually  doth  God  :  conscience  doth  all  with 
respect  to  God,  and  in  the  name  of  God.  The  inferior  court  is  not 
to  be  slighted,  the  sentence  there  is  given  out  in  God's  name,  and  by 
virtue  of  God's  authority.  To  slight  the  officer  or  subordinate  magi- 
strate in  the  duty  of  his  place  is  to  slight  the  supreme  power :  Judges 
iii.  20,  '  And  Ehud  said  unto  him,  I  have  a  message  from  God  unto 
thee ;  and  he  arose  off  his  seat.' 

3.  The  rule  it  goeth  by,  which  is  the  revealed  will  of  God,  either  by 
the  light  of  nature  or  the  light  of  scripture  ;  his  will  revealed. in  his 
law,  or  in  the  gospel :  according  to  the  dispensation  men  are  under,  so 
have  they  a  conscience,  this  makes  us  a  light  to  ourselves :  Prov.  vi. 
22,  '  When  thou  goest  it  shall  lead  thee,  when  thou  sleepest  it  shall 
keep  thee,  wlien  thou  wakest  it  shall  talk  with  thee  ; '  that  is,  the  law 
of  God  will  direct  thee  upon  all  occasions.  Conscience  worketh  by 
virtue  of  that  light  which  God  hath  put  into  us.  Now  to  slight  con- 
science, is  to  rebel  against  the  light  of  nature,  Rom.  ii.  14,  15,  and  the 
light  of  scripture,  Heb.  viii.  10.  Conscience  will  tell  you  what  you  are 
loath  to  hear,  yet  hear  it ;  it  will  be  heard  once,  better  hear  it  now, 
while  you  may  correct  your  errors ;  it  doth  but  repeat  over  the  law  of 
God  to  you. 

But  now  some  objections  may  arise. 

Object.  1.  May  we  not  be  deceived  in  our  judgment  concerning 
ourselves  ? 

Ans.  1.  Not  ordinarily  ;  in  condemnation  man  is  over-prone  to  love 
liimself,  and  therefore  unless  compelled  by  the  manifest  force  and 
evidence  of  the  truth,  he  would  not  condemn  himself,  especially  when 
affecting  the  show  and  reputation  of  sincerity.  Surely,  if  there  were 
ground  for  it,  he  would  not  let  go  his  integrity  (it  is  true,  some 
melancholy  mournful  souls  may  write  bitter  things  against  themselves, 
and  mistake  in  spiritual  things),  as  Prov.  xvi.  2,  *  All  the  ways  of  a  man 
are  right  in  his  own  eyes  ; '  Rev.  iii.  17,  18, '  Because  thou  sayest,  I  am 
rich,  and  increased  with  goods,  and  have  need  of  nothing  ;  and  knowest 
not  that  thou  art  wretched,  and  miserable,  and  })oor,  and  blind,  and 
naked  :   I  counsel  thee  to  buy  of  me  gold  tried  in  the  fire,  that  thou 

170  SEllMONS  Ul'ON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXV. 

mayest  be  rich,  and  white  raiment,  that  thou  mayest  be  clothed,  and 
that  the  shame  of  thy  nakedness  do  not  appear  ;  aud  anoint  thine  eyes 
with  eye-salve,  that  thou  mayest  see.'  There  is  a  false  presumption  of 
our  good  estate.  Now  then,  when  our  hearts  reproach  us,  and  con- 
demn us  for  want  of  love  to  and  neglect  of  God,  and  unmindfulness  of 
heavenly  things,  it  concerneth  us  to  weigh  the  matter.  We  can 
better  trust  it  condemning  than  acquitting :  1  Cor.  iv.  4,  '  If  I  know 
nothing  by  myself,  I  am  not  thereby  justified,  but  every  one's  judg- 
ment is  of  the  Lord.' 

2.  The  apostle  speaketh  of  what  is  rightly  done,  and  according  to 
rule.  Look,  as  in  acquitting  we  must  distinguish  between  a  dead 
sleepy  conscience,  and  a  tender  waking  conscience,  so  in  condemning, 
between  the  judgment  when  under  a  heat,  and  passion,  and  distemper, 
and  the  judgment  of  conscience  in  our  calm  and  sedate  moods.  Surely 
if  it  then  condemn  us,  or  give  us  no  good  assurance  before  God,  we 
have  need  to  look  to  ourselves.  A  stupid  conscience,  and  on  the  other 
side  a  stormy  conscience,  are  not  capable  of  passing  a  right  judgment. 

3.  It  is  all  one  as  to  our  peace,  if  our  hearts  judge  us  wrongfully, 
either  as  to  acts  or  state.  Acts  :  Rom.  xiv.  22,  23,  '  Happy  is  he  that 
condemneth  not  himself  in  the  thing  which  he  alloweth.  And  he  that 
doubteth  is  damned  if  he  eat,  because  he  eateth  not  of  faith  ;  and  what- 
soever is  not  of  faith  is  sin.'  A  man  may  do  an  action  lawful,  and  yet 
liis  heart  may  accuse  or  condemn  him  in  it,  as  if  it  were  unlawful.  It 
is  a  damning  sin  to  act  against  conscience  though  it  err.  So  as  to 
state ;  he  cannot  think  God  acquitteth  him  whose  heart  condemneth 
him,  for  he  cannot  believe  against  his  conscience.  There  is  indeed  a 
self-condemning  as  to  merit,  which  entitletli  to  mercy  ;  but  a  self- 
condemning  as  to  our  actual  state  must  needs  breed  trouble  and  grief 
of  heart,  though  it  be  upon  false  grounds. 

Object.  2.  But  what  relief  is  there  for  one  whose  heart  condemnetli 
him  ?     Must  he  sit  down,  and  despair,  and  die  ?     I  answer — 

1.  In  some  cases  there  is  an  appeal  from  court  to  court.  In 
what  court  doth  conscience  condemn  you?  In  the  court  of  the  law? 
You  ought  to  subscribe  to  the  condemnation  as  just,  and  to  own  the 
desert  of  sin ;  and  if  God  should  bring  it  upon  you,  he  is  righteous  : 
Neh.  iii.  33,  '  Thou  art  just  in  all  that  is  brought  upon  us  ;  for  thou 
hast  done  right,  but  we  have  done  wickedly.'  But  there  is  a  liberty 
of  appeal  from  court  to  court.  You  may  take  sanctuary  at  the  Lord's 
grace,  and  humbly  claim  the  benefit  of  the  new  covenant :  Ps.  cxxx.  3, 
4,  '  If  thou.  Lord,  shouldst  mark  iniquities,  0  Lord,  who  shall  stand  ? 
But  there  is  forgiveness  with  thee,  that  thou  mayest  be  feared.'  De- 
precate the  first  court,  and  beg  the  favour  of  the  second. 

2.  In  other  cases  there  is  an  appeal  from  judge  to  judge.  Suppose 
conscience  condemn  you  in  the  gospel  court,  that  you  are  not  sound 
believers,  the  case  must  not  be  lightly  passed  over,  but  you  must  exa- 
mine whether  there  be  a  sincere  bent  of  heart  in  you,  yea  or  no,  appeal 
to  the  higher  judge ;  as  when  others  question  your  sincerity  :  '  My  wit- 
ness is  in  heaven,'  saith  Job,  chap,  xvi.  19.  So  when  your  own  hearts 
question  it,  doth  conscience  write  bitter  things  against  you  ?  See  if  the 
judgment  of  conscience  be  the  judgment  of  God.  It  is  a  judge,  but 
not  a  supreme  judge  ;  it  may  err  in  acquitting,  as  when  from  a  judge  it 

VeR.  -0.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOilN  III.  171 

becometli  an  advocate,  excusing  the  partialities  of  our  obedience  ;  so 
in  condemning,  when  from  a  judge  it  becometh  an  accuser,  and  exag- 
gerateth  incident  faihngs  beyond  measure.  Go  to  the  higher  judge, 
whose  act  is  authoritative  and  powerful :  Job  xxxii.  23,  '  If  there  be 
a  messenger  with  him,  an  interpreter,  one  among  a  thousand,  to  show 
unto  man  his  uprightness.'  Who  can  interpret  your  righteousness  to 
you  but  his  Spirit,  when  you  cannot  see  it  yourselves,  and  may  some- 
times speak  peace  in  the  sentence  of  the  word,  when  not  in  the  feeliag 
of  conscience,  and  the  lively  impressions  of  his  comforting  Spirit  ? 

3.  Suppose  the  worst ;  there  is  a  passing  from  state  to  state  :  John 
V.  24,  'He  shall  not  come  into  condemnation,  but  is  passed  from  deatli 
to  life.'  You  are  in  a  state  of  condemnation  now,  but  get  out  of  it  as 
fast  as  you  can :  Mat.  iii.  7,  '  Flee  from  wrath  to  come ; '  and  carry 
yourselves  accordingly,  till  your  condition  be  altered ;  the  door  of 
grace  is  always  open:  Heb.  vi.  18,  'Who  have  fled  for  refuge  to  lay 
hold  upon  the  hope  set  before  us.' 

4.  If  the  heart  do  neither  condemn  nor  acquit,  make  your  qualifi- 
cation more  explicit,  and  take  the  same  course  a  condemned  man 
would  do,  sue  out  your  pardon  more  earnestly :  Rom.  viii.  33,  '  Wlio 
shall  lay  anything  to  the  charge  of  God's  elect  ?  It  is  God  that  justi- 
fieth.'  Many  times  an  old  litigious  title  may  cost  as  much  in  clearing 
as  the  purchase  of  a  new;  therefore  mind  the  way  of  fleeing  from  wrath 
to  come,  and  be  more  serious  in  it. 

Use  1.  Is  information.  To  show  the  bad  condition  of  wicked  men, 
who  have  within  themselves  an  accusing  conscience,  and  above  them- 
selves a  condemning  judge  ;  so  that  a  man  that  doeth  evil  can  never 
have  a  sound  peace  and  quiet  within  himself,  nor  have  any  quietness. 
Their  disease  is  the  benumbing  lethargy  of  a  stupid  conscience,  they 
do  not  always  feel  the  stings  of  conscience,  but  are  always  subject  to  it. 
Death  reviveth  them,  it  may  surprise  them  in  an  instant.  All  their 
pleasures  are  but  '  stolen  waters,  and  bread  eaten  in  secret,'  Pro  v.  ix. 
17,  poor  delights  taken  by  stealth  when  they  get  conscience  asleep,  as 
servants  that  feast  themselves  in  a  corner  when  they  can  get  out  of 
their  master's  sight.  They  are  not  open  and  avowed  delights.  Why  ? 
Because  their  hearts  condemn  them,  and  God  is  ready  to  ratify  and 
execute  the  sentence;  everything  puts  them  in  a  fright:  Job  xv.  21, 
'  A  dreadful  sound  is  in  his  ears  ;  in  prosperity  the  destroyer  shall  come 
upon  him.'  Surely  wicked  and  impenitent  men  have  no  sound  peace  ; 
they  dare  not  look  inward  or  upward  with  any  comfort. 

2.  How  far  they  are  from  the  temper  of  religion  that  live  even  a 
moment  without  all  conscience  or  against  conscience.  A  good  man 
looketh  to  his  heart,  whether  it  condemneth  or  acquitteth  ;  but  some 
live  without  all  conscience,  do  all  things  rashly  and  inconsiderately, 
never  considering  whether  they  be  pleasing  or  displeasing  to  God,  whetlier 
they  tend  to  the  honour  or  dishonour  of  God;  live  at  haphazard;  if  they 
do  good,  it  is  by  accident ;  perform  the  duties  of  Christianity  so  far  as 
the  interest  of  the  flesh  will  give  them  leave,  yea,  so  far  as  the  flesh 
itself  will  command  them  to  do  well,  or  forbid  sin,  that  it  may  not 
disgrace  tliem  in  the  world,  or  bring  some  inconveniency  upon  them. 
These  consult  not  with  conscience  in  their  actions,  but  are  guided  by 
their  lusts  and  sudden  passions:  others  live  against  conscience,  omitting 

172  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.         [SeR.  XXV. 

duties  when  conscience  loudly  calleth  for  it :  James  iv.  17,  '  Therefore 
to  him  that  knoweth  to  do  good,  and  doeth  it  not,  to  him  it  is  sin.' 
They  will  find  it  with  a  witness  one  day  ;  committing  evil  against  the 
apparent  checks  of  conscience,  these  kick  against  the  pricks ;  these  do  not 
only  break  the  law  of  God,  but  offer  violence  to  their  own  consciences, 
and  in  effect  resist  the  Holy  Ghost,  who  exciteth  them  to  good,  Acts  vii. 
51,  and  so  are  under  a  great  crime. 

Use  2.  Carry  it  so  that  conscience  may  not  condemn  you  ;  the 
sentence  may  be,  and  usually  is,  ratified  by  God.  To  enforce  it,  con- 
sider these  things — 

1.  Conscience  is  the  best  friend  and  the  worst  enemy  ;  partly  for  its 
comfort;  it  is  '  a  continual  feast,'  Prov.  xv.  15  ;  '  our  rejoicing,'  2  Cor. 
i.  12.  No  bird  sings  so  sweetly  as  the  bird  in  the  bosom.  Partly  for 
its  nearness ;  it  is  always  with  us  in  health  and  sickness,  in  life  and 
death.  Husbands  and  wives,  who  are  most  together,  yet,  because  they 
live  by  a  distinct  life,  they  are  often  apart,  and  at  length  death  cometh 
and  looseth  the  band  and  knot ;  but  a  good  conscience  is  a  sweet  com- 
panion, that  always  remaineth  with  us.  So  it  is  the  worst  enemy,  partly 
for  its  nearness,  for  a  man  to  be  at  odds  with  himself,  to  fall  out  with 
his  own  heart.  It  is  a  domestic  tribunal  which  we  cannot  suppress  or 
get  rid  of.  Let  any  be  your  enemy  rather  than  your  own  conscience. 
Job  could  bear  the  reproaches  of  others,  but  his  own  '  heart  should  not 
reproach  him  all  his  days,'  Job  xxvii.  6.  Partly  because  of  the 
grievousness  of  the  wound :  Prov.  xviii.  14,  '  The  spirit  of  a  man  will 
sustain  his  infirmity  ;  but  a  wounded  spirit  who  can  bear  ?  '  It  is  no 
less  than  the  fear  of  the  wrath  of  the  eternal  God.  Judas  found  no 
relief  from  his  new  friends  when  his  conscience  wakened  upon  him, 
Mat.  xxvii.  3-5.  In  short,  a  man  cannot  run  away  from  his  con- 
science, no  more  than  he  can  run  away  from  himself.  Therefore  what 
folly  is  it  to  please  others  and  offend  his  own  conscience,  or  to  please 
his  lusts  and  wrong  his  conscience,  and  for  the  satisfaction  of  a  vain 
appetite  to  incur  such  horror  and  trouble !  The  satisfying  of  a  lust 
is  a  poor  vanishing  pleasure,  but  the  keeping  a  good  conscience 
breedeth  a  solid  joy,  which  will  stick  by  thee  to  the  last.  When  thou 
comest  to  die,  it  will  be  a  support  to  thee ;  Isa.  xxxviii.  3,  *  Lord, 
thou  knowest  that  I  have  walked  before  thee  with  a  perfect  heart.' 
When  thou  must  leave  riches,  and  honours,  and  pleasures,  which 
are  the  baits  of  thy  lust,  this  will  stick  by  thee  :  1  John  ii.  17,  '  The 
world  passeth  away,  but  he  that  doeth  the  will  of  God  abideth  for 

2.  It  is  either  the  beginning  of  heaven  or  hell ;  a  good  conscience  is 
the  beginning  of  heaven,  and  peace  and  joy  in  believing  is  a  foretaste 
of  that  fulness  of  joy  and  pleasure  which  you  shall  have  when  you 
come  into  God's  immediate  presence.  The  glorified  spirits  carry  a  good 
conscience  with  them  to  heaven  :  '  Their  works  follow  them,'  Eev.  xiv. 
13  ;  and  an  awakened  conscience  is  a  hell  upon  earth.  The  damned 
carry  these  stings  and  convictions  into  hell  along  with  them  :  Mark  ix. 
44,  *  Where  their  worm  dieth  not,  and  the  fire  is  not  quenched.'  Oh, 
think  of  this,  the  joys  of  the  Spirit  are  the  antepast  of  glory,  called  often 
an  '  earnest : '  2  Cor.  i.  22,  '  Who  hath  sealed  us,  and  given  us  the 
earnest  of  the  Spirit.'     Horrors  of  conscience  are  the  suburbs  of  hell. 

VeR.  20.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  IN.  173 

Therefore  be  sure  to  keep  all  quiet  within,  and  do  not  give  conscience 
occasion  to  condemn  you. 

3.  It  is  easily  offended,  hut  not  easily  appeased.  As  the  eye  is 
offended  with  the  least  dust  and  mote,  which  soon  gets  in,  but  is  hardly 
to  be  gotten  out  again,  so  you  may  violate  conscience,  but  to  appease  it 
costs  a  great  deal  of  trouble ;  therefore  there  needs  much  tenderness 
and  watchfulness,  that  you  make  it  your  daily  work,  Acts  xxiv.  16,  'To 
have  always  aconscience  void  of  offence  both  towards  God  and  towards 
men.'  By  the  commission  of  deliberate  and  wilful  sins  you  may  raise 
a  tempest  that  will  not  be  soon  laid  again.  David  felt  broken  bones 
after  his  foul  fall,  Ps.  li.  Joseph's  brethren  could  not  put  it  out  of 
their  minds  but  that  he  would  avenge  the  old  quarrel,  Gen.  1.  When 
the  mists  of  passion  are  over,  guilt  maketh  your  heart  sit  uneasy 
within  you.     Therefore  do  not  go  like  an  ox  to  the  slaughter. 

4.  If  conscience  speaketh  not,  it  writeth  ;  for  it  is  not  only  a  witness, 
but  a  register,  and  a  book  of  record  :  Jer.  xvii.  1, '  The  sin  of  Judah  is 
written  with  a  pen  of  iron,  and  the  point  of  a  diamond.'  We  know 
not  what  conscience  writeth,  being  occupied  and  taken  up  with  carnal 
vanities,  but  we  shall  know  hereafter  when  the  books  are  open,  Eev. 
XX.  12.  Conscience  keepeth  a  diary,  and  sets  down  everything.  This 
book,  though  it  be  in  the  sinner's  keeping,  cannot  be  razed  and  blotted 
out.  Well,  then,  a  sleepy  conscience  will  not  always  sleep ;  if  we 
suffer  it  not  to  awaken  here,  it  will  awaken  in  hell ;  for  the  present  it 
sleepeth  in  many,  in  regard  of  motion,  check,  or  smiting,  but  not  in 
regard  of  notice  and  observation. 

5.  If  conscience  speak  not  to  you,  we  must  speak  to  it.  Call  your- 
selves to  an  account  for  the  expense  of  your  time  and  employment. 
The  course  of  your  life  is  a  sure  evidence  of  your  everlasting  estate  : 
Ps.  Ixxvii.  6,  '  I  communed  with  ray  heart,  and  made  a  diligent  search.' 
How  do  matters  stand  between  God  and  you  ?  take  some  time  to 
parley  with  yourselves.  Quotidie  apud  me  causam  dico,  could  a 
lieathen  say — I  still  implead  myself  before  myself ;  and  if  a  heathen 
did  so,  should  not  christians  much  more  ? 

6.  If  the  stings  of  an  evil  conscience  are  not  always  felt,  5^et  they  are 
soon  revived  and  forced  upon  us  by  serious  thoughts  of  death  and  judg- 
ment to  come.  This  fire  that  smothereth  in  our  bosoms  is  soon  blown 
up  into  a  flame.  By  the  word  sometimes:  Acts  xxiv.  25,  'Felix 
trembled.'  Belshazzar's  edge  was  taken  off  in  the  midst  of  his  carous- 
ings,  Dan.  v.  5,  6.  By  some  great  troubles ;  in  a  tempest,  that  which 
is  at  bottom  cometh  at  top:  Isa.  lix.  12,  'For  our  transgressions  are 
multiplied  before  thee,  and  our  sins  testify  against  us ;  for  our  trans- 
gressions are  with  us  ;  and  as  for  our  iniquities,  we  know  them.'  Or  by 
death  :  1  Cor.  xv.  .56,  '  The  sting  of  death  is  sin.'  In  the  confines  of 
eternity  men  are  wiser,  and  near  things  do  most  affect  us,  and  the  baits 
of  the  flesh  have  lost  their  allurement.  Things  overlooked  before  are 
then  seriously  considered,  and  the  deluded  sinner  forced  to  see  what  he 
would  not  take  notice  of  before. 

7.  Soiuid  peace  will  never  be  had  by  smothering  checks  of  conscience, 
but  making  a  holy  use  of  them.  To  smother  them  breedeth  hardness 
of  heait,  but  to  improve  them  is  the  way  to  a  holy  peace.  What  is 
the  way  to  improve  them  ?     I  shall  instance  in  two  ways — 

174:  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeU.  XX VL 

[1.]  When  the  particular  conscience  condemneth,  we  must  look  to  it 
that  the  general  conscience  may  acquit  us.  The  particular  conscience 
referreth  to  acts,  the  general  to  conversation.  As  to  particular  acts,  he 
whose  heart  doth  not  condemn  him  of  sin.  But  how  is  it  as  to  the 
drift  and  course  of  our  lives  ?  2  Cor.  i.  12,  '  But  our  rejoicing  is  this, 
the  testimony  of  our  conscience,  that,  in  simplicity  and  godly  sincerity, 
Bot  with  fleshly  wisdom,  but  by  the  grace  of  God,  we  have  had  our  con- 
versations in  the  world.' 

[2.]  When  the  legal  conscience  condemneth  us,  we  must  seek  our 
peace  in  the  evangelical  conscience.  Now  the  evangelical  conscience 
reflecteth  on  what  Christ  hath  done  for  us,  and  wrought  in  us.  Christ 
hath  shed  his  blood  for  sinners :  Heb.  ix.  14,  '  How  much  more  shall 
the  blood  of  Christ,  who  through  the  eternal  Spirit  offered  himself 
without  spot  to  God,  purge  your  consciences  from  dead  works,  to  serve 
the  living  God  ? '  and  Heb.  xii.  24,  '  And  to  Jesus,  the  mediator  of 
the  new  covenant,  and  to  the  blood  of  sprinkling,  which  speaketh 
better  things  than  the  blood  of  Abel'  But  that  is  not  all,  there  is 
something  also  wrought  in  us,  and  is  '  the  answer  of  a  good  conscience 
towards  God/  1  Peter  iii.  21. 


And  knoiueth  all  things. — 1  John  iii.  20. 

DocT.  That  God  exactly  and  perfectly  knoweth  all  things  that  are  in 
the  world,  and  is  more  especially  privy  to  the  hearts  and  ways  of  men. 

Of  this  the  context  speaketh.  God  hath  a  greater  and  more  certain 
knowledge  of  what  we  do  than  our  own  consciences. 

Let  me  inquire  here  into — (1.)  The  properties  of  God's  knowledge  ; 
(2.)  The  reasons  ;  (3.)  How  this  doctrine  is  entertained  by  men ;  (4.) 
What  use  we  should  make  of  it  ourselves. 

First,  What  God's  knowledge  is.  Exactly  to  state  it  is  above  the 
reach  of  man  ;  this  knowledge  is  too  wonderful  for  us,  Ps.  cxxxix.  6, 
far  above  our  capacity  to  understand  the  nature  of  it.  But  for  our 
}>ro{it,  somewhat  of  it  is  revealed  to  us  in  the  scripture  ;  therefore  I 
shall  give  you  the  properties  of  it. 

1.  For  the  object  to  which  it  is  extended,  it  is  universal ;  the  text 
saith  '  all  things '  are  known  by  him.  But  especially  it  relateth  to 
man,  all  things  in  man. 

Let  us  a  little  consider  the  modifications  of  this  object. 

[1.]  Things  good  and  evil :  Prov.  xv.  3,  '  The  eyes  of  the  Lord  are 
in  every  place,  beholding  the  evil  and  the  good.'  For  good  things  there 
is  no  doubt,  for  he  is  the  author  of  them  ;  for  evil  things,  God  is  not 
the  author  of  them,  but  the  judge  and  punisher,  and  therefore  knoweth 
them  also.  Take  another  distinction  of  the  object ;  things  great  and 
small.  It  was  the  corrupt  theology  of  the  gentiles,  JDii  magna  curant, 
parva  negligunt.     One  of  the  wisest  heathens  comparcth  him  to  the 

VeU.  20.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  175 

Pertiian  monarchs,  wlio  minded  the  great  affairs  of  the  provinces,  but 
left  other  things  to  the  satraps  or  vicegerents.  But  we  are  taught 
better  divinity  in  the  scriptures,  that  small  things  are  put  under  the 
providence  of  God  as  well  as  great ;  that  a  sparrow  (though  two  of  them 
are  sold  for  a  farthing)  falleth  not  to  the  ground  without  our  heavenly 
Father,  Mat.  x.  30.  It  was  no  dishonour  to  God  to  make  them,  nor  is  it 
so  to  preserve  them  and  look  after  them.  Again,  God  knoweth  not  only 
things  necessary,  but  contingent ;  things  necessary,  or  sucli  as  depend 
upon  the  stated  courses  of  nature,  as  the  succession  of  winter  and  summer, 
day  and  night,  the  revolutions  of  the  heavens ;  he  hath  appointed  to  them 
a  law  and  a  decree  beyond  which  they  cannot  pass,  Ps.  cxlviii.  7.  But 
also  things  contingent,  as  depend  upon  the  will  of  man,  or  the  casual 
fortuitous  motion  of  the  creature.  Christ  could  foretell  they  should 
meet  a  man  in  the  city,  and  bids  them  to  follow  him,  and  keep  the 
passover  in  his  house,  Luke  xxii.  10.  And  he  told  Nathanael  what 
he  said,  and  where,  John  i.  48.  And  often  told  the  Jews  and  his 
disciples  what  they  thought :  Mat.  ix.  4, '  Jesus,  knowing  their  thoughts, 
said,  Why  think  ye  evil  in  your  hearts?'  He  knew  what  Paul  did  in 
such  a  city,  such  a  street,  such  a  house,  at  such  a  time,  Acts  ix.  11. 
In  short,  nothing  more  casual  than  a  lot :  Prov.  xvi.  33, '  The  lot  is  cast 
into  the  lap,  but  the  whole  disposing  of  it  is  of  the  Lord;'  he  knows 
how  the  lot  will  fall.  Once  more,  he  knows  things  past,  present,  and 
to  come.  Past ;  no  oblivion  can  fall  upon  God  ;  a  thousand  years  are  to 
him  as  one  day,  Ps.  xc.  4.  We  forget  many  of  our  actions,  but  God 
forgets  them  not.  All  things  present  are  known  to  him,  for  he  sus- 
taineth  and  guideth  them  in  their  motions,  and  they  subsist  no  longer 
than  he  pleaseth  :  2  Chron.  xvi.  9,  '  The  eyes  of  the  Lord  run  to  and 
fro  throughout  the  earth.'  The  sun  is  an  emblem  and  representation 
of  his  knowledge :  Ps.  xix.  6,  *  There  is  nothing  hid  from  the  heat 
thereof.'  If  the  sun  were  an  eye,  it  would  see  all  things  it  shineth 
upon  ;  only  the  sun  cannot  pierce  through  dark  and  thick  bodies.  But 
God  is  over  all,  and  through  all,  and  in  all,  the  great  eye  of  the  world. 
Man's  knowledge  is  limited  and  confined  to  a  few  things,  that  fall 
within  the  cognisance  of  the  time  and  place  wherein  he  liveth ;  but 
God  seeth  and  knoweth  all  things.  Things  to  come,  which  are  wholly 
out  of  the  reach  of  man's  discovery  :  Jer.  i,  5,  '  Before  thou  wert 
framed  in  the  womb,  I  knew  thee.'  God's  foresight  is  more  clear  than 
our  sight,  and  the  substance  of  things  does  not  give  us  a  better  know- 
ledge of  them  than  God's  prescience  doth  to  him :  Isa.  xli.  23,  'Show  the 
things  to  come  hereafter,  that  we  may  know  that  ye  are  gods.'  He 
challengeth  all  the  world  to  be  able  to  foretell  future  contingencies. 
Once  more,  God  knoweth  all  things  that  shall  be,  and  might  have 
been.  All  things  that  shall  be:  Acts  xv.  18,  'AH  his  works  are 
Icnown  to  God  from  the  beginning  of  the  world.'  Past,  present, 
;irid  to  come,  make  no  difference  in  the  understanding  of  God; 
idi-  from  the  mount  of  eternity  he  hath  a  prospect  of  all  things, 
as  if  they  were  now  in  being.  That  place  is  brought  to  prove  that 
(iod  did  not  begin  then  to  take  to  himself  a  people  from  among  the 
gentiles,  but  had  from  all  eternity  determined  to  do  so.  God,  that 
doth  all  things  in  time,  knew  all  these  things  before  all  time,  otherwise 
l>is  knowledge  were  neither  eternal  nor  infinite.     Things  are  because 

176  SERMONS  UPON  ]  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXVI. 

lie  willeth  them,  and  he  willeth  them  from  all  eternity.  God  also 
knoweth  all  things  that  might  have  been.  He  knew  that  Abimelech 
would  have  defiled  himself  and  Sarah,  if  he  had  not  withheld  him, 
Gen.  XX.  6  ;  that  the  men  of  Keilah  would  have  betrayed  David  into 
the  hands  of  Saul,  if  he  had  staj'ed  among  them,  1  Sam.  xxiii,  12. 
There  is  many  a  man  kept  bare  and  low,  God  knoweth  what  he  would 
do  if  he  had  power  in  his  hands.  Many  die  young  ;  God  knoweth,  if 
they  had  lived  forty  or  fifty  years,  it  would  have  been  worse  for  them, 
they  might  have  dishonoured  God  more,  grieved  their  relations  more, 
or  been  exposed  to  temptations,  which  he  saw  not  fit  to  let  loose  upon 
them.  Thus  for  the  universality  of  God's  knowledge,  he  knoweth  all 
all  things. 

[2.]  The  particularity  of  God's  knowledge.  His  knowledge  is  not 
only  universal,  but  particular ;  he  knoweth  every  individual  thing  and 
person.  Our  persons  are  known  to  him  by  head  and  poll :  2  Tim.  ii. 
18,  'The  Lord  knoweth  those  that  are  his  ;'  and  '  the  good  shepherd 
calleth  his  own  sheep  by  name,'  John  x.  3.  There  is  not  a  single 
man  liveth  in  the  world,  but  God  taketh  notice  of  him ;  he  doth  cer- 
tainly know  that  there  is  such  a  creature  as  thou  art,  such  a  man  or 
woman  in  the  world.  His  decree  passed  on  thee  ;  he  knew  thee  in  the 
mass  and  lump  of  mankind,  and  took  notice  of  thee  by  name  when  his 
creating  power  passed  on  thee  ;  for  he  knoweth  all  that  he  hath  made  ; 
and  he  is  to  judge  thee,  and  will  set  thy  life  in  order  before  thee,  Ps.  1. 
21.  And  therefore  certainly  knoweth  thee,  or  else  he  were  not  an 
omniscient  judge.  There  could  be  no  process  against  thee  if  the  Lord 
•were  ignorant  of  thy  person ;  and  his  actual  providence  about  thee 
iraplieth  it.  Thou  canst  not  uphold  thyself  one  moment  without  him, 
and  therefore  he  is  as  verily  with  thee  as  thou  art  with  thyself. 
Suppose  that  God  had  never  a  creature  to  look  to  in  all  the  world  but 
thee,  wouldst  thou  not  believe  then  that  he  doth  know  thee  and 
regard  thee?  Why  not  now?  Is  there  any  weakness  in  God?  is  his 
mind  distracted  with  variety  of  objects,  that  he  would  not  regard  thy 
person,  heart,  word,  and  ways  ?  is  he  not  sufficient  for  thee,  and  as 
really  present  with  thee  as  if  he  had  no  other  creature  else  ? 

(2.)  As  our  persons,  so  our  ways :  Ps.  i.  6,  '  The  Lord  knoweth  the 
way  of  the  righteous,  but  the  way  of  the  ungodly  shall  perish.'  Doth 
not  God  distinguish  between  his  obedient  and  rebellious  subjects,  and 
know  who  they  are,  and  how  many  are  of  the  one  sort  and  the  other  ? 
To  deny  this  were  to  strike  at  the  root  of  all  piety  and  obedience.  If 
lie  hath  not  a  particular  inspection  of , human  affairs,  and  did  not  know 
the  good  and  evil,  what  need  we  take  care  whether  we  be  good  or 
evil  ? 

(3.)  As  of  our  way  and  scope  in  general,  so  of  every  step;  he  knoweth 
all  the  particularities  of  our  lives  :  Job  xxxi.  4,  '  Doth  not  he  see  all 
my  ways,  and  count  all  my  steps  ?  '  By  our  way  is  meant  our  general 
conversation,  and  by  our  steps  oui-  particular  actions.  God  seeth  us  in 
all  postures,  when  we  laugh,  and  when  we  weep,  when  we  are  proud, 
and  when  we  are  angry,  toying  and  praying,  when  in  company  or  alone, 
when  buying  or  selling,  and  when  worshipping  and  hearing:  Ps. 
cxxxix.  2,  '  Thou  knowest  my  up-rising  and  down-lying  ; '  how  ye  go 
to  bed  at  night,  and  rise  in  the  morning.     And  he  knoweth  not  only 

VeR.  20.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  177 

thy  actions,  but  thy  heart.  It  is  a  mighty  awe  upon  us  that  he  know- 
eth  our  words  and  actions  :  Ps.  cxxxix.  4,  '  Lo,  there  is  not  a  word  in 
my  mouth,  but  thou,  0  Lord,  knowest  it  altogether.'  God  knoweth 
it,  whether  it  be  savoury  and  gracious  or  vain  and  idle.  But  this  is 
not  all;  he  knoweth  our  hearts  and  our  very  thoughts:  Prov.  xv.  11, 
'  Hell  and  destruction  are  before  the  Lord  ;  how  much  more  the  hearts 
of  the  children  of  men  ?  '  He  seiteth  forth  the  knowledge  of  God  by 
those  things  which  are  most  unknown  to  us,  the  state  of  the  dead  and 
the  hearts  of  men.  He  knoweth  all  those  that  are  in  the  state  of  the 
dead,  though  unknown  or  forgotten  by  the  most  of  men ;  what  is 
become  of  the  bodies  and  souls  of  men  ;  the  damned  spirits  in  hell,  he 
keepeth  an  exact  account  of  all  the  prisoners  ;  the  bodies  in  the  grave, 
he  knoweth  what  is  become  of  their  dust,  and  how  to  restore  to  every 
one  his  own  flesh  and  his  own  body  ;  and  what  are  the  thoughts  and 
liearts  of  men  now  alive.  The  thoughts  of  the  heart  are  most  hidden 
from  man  till  they  be  revealed  by  word  or  action.  Who  can  know 
our  thoughts  ?  what  more  swift  and  sudden,  what  more  various  and 
more  hidden  than  a  thought  ?  and  this  he  knoweth  not  by  guess  and 
interpretation,  by  running  up  our  actions  into  their  proper  thought  and 
principle  wherein  they  are  founded,  but  by  immediate  inspection,  and 
knoweth  them  before  they  are  manifested  by  the  event,  or  any  overt  act 
of  word  or  deed ;  what  consultations  and  deliberations  we  are  about 
before  we  conclude  anything ;  with  what  hopes,  and  aims,  and  con- 
sciences we  are  carried  on ;  in  whose  name  we  act,  and  with  what 
principles  and  ends :  which  is  of  double  use  to  us,  partly  to  breed  a 
holy  fear,  and  partly  a  hope  in  us.  An  awe,  how  should  we  compose 
our  minds  and  passions,  and  the  very  thoughts  of  our  hearts !  God 
seetli  all,  how  should  we  use  our  words  and  order  our  behaviour !  We 
do  all  in  his  sight,  and  speak  all  in  his  hearing :  he  finds  out^  the 
thought,  word,  and  deed  that  is  not  done  in  his  presence  or  conceived 
in  his  presence,  and  then  allow  yourselves  to  be  vain  and  frivolous  if 
you  can.  And  partly  to  breed  a  hope  in  us.  God  knoweth  what  is 
hatched  in  hell,  or  Kome,  or  elsewhere  against  us ;  and  therefore  let 
us  do  our  duty,  and  rest  in  the  wisdom  of  God  for  protection. 

3.  God's  knowledge  is  most  exact  and  accurate ;  it  is  good  to  see 
ho\y  it  is  expressed  to  us  in  scripture  :  Heb.  iv.  13,  '  All  things  are 
naked  and  open  before  him;'  cut  down  by  the  chine-bone.  When 
a  beast  is  dissected  and  opened,  every  part  is  seen,  the  soundness  or 
unsoundness  of  it  presently  appears.  Heathen  soothsayers  were  wont 
to  look  to  the  inwards  of  the  beasts,  and  to  observe  the  colour,  shape, 
and  all  the  defects  or  perfections  of  the  sacrifice  :  the  prophet  alludeth 
to  it  wlien  he  saith,  Ezek  xxi.  21,  'He  looked  into  the  liver.'  Thus 
are  all  things  said  to  be  laid  open  before  God.  Sometimes  by  search- 
ing: 1  Chron.  xxix.  11,  'He  searcheth  the  heart,  and  trieth  the 
imaginations  of  the  sons  of  men.'  Sometimes  it  is  search  as  with 
candles,  Zeph.  i.  12,  as  one  for  what  is  hid  or  lost.  Luke  xv.  8,  when 
the  woman  had  lost  her  groat,  '  She  lighteth  the  candle,  sweepeth  the 
lionse,  seeketh  diligently  till  she  findeth  it.'  We  think  our  sins  will 
never  be  heard  of  more,  but  he  findeth  them  out,  and  they  find  us  out: 
Num.  xxxii.  23,  'Your  iniquities  shall  find  you  out.'  Sometimes  by 
keeping  reckoning :  Job  xxxi.  4,  '  Doth  not  he  count  all  my  steps  ? ' 

VOL.  XXI.  '  "^"^  '  ^^"^  ''"^  '^-^°  M 

178  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXVI. 

God  hatli  a  book  where  all  is  put  to  account :  Mai.  iii.  18,  '  A  book  of 
remembrance  was  written  before  him ;  and  Ps.  xvi.  3,  '  Thou  tellest 
all  my  wanderings ;  put  thou  my  tears  in  thy  bottle,  are  they  not  in  thy 
book  ?  '  Words,  thoughts,  actions,  all  upon  record.  What  neglects 
of  grace,  omission  of  duties,  violating  principles  of  conscience,  God 
counteth  them  all :  Jer.  xiv.  16,  '  Thou  numberest  my  steps,  and 
watchest  over  my  sin.'  Sometimes  by  weighing  and  pondering :  Prov. 
xvi.  2,  'But  the  Lord  weigheth  the  spirits;'  Prov.  xv.  21,  'All  my 
ways  are  before  him,  and  he  pondereth  my  goings.'  Whether  full 
weight  or  too  light,  he  knoweth  the  number,  the  proportion,  the 
weight  of  every  one  of  thy  sins  ;  the  person  who,  the  place  where,  the 
time  when  committed  ;  what  means,  warnings,  methods  of  grace,  helps 
to  the  contrary,  these  are  brought  into  the  reckoning.  Thus  by  many 
metaphors  does  the  scriptur®  set  out  the  exact  and  certain  knowledge 
that  God  hath  of  persons,  and  circumstances,  and  all  their  actions ; 
nothing  can  escape  God,  and  he  cannot  be  deceived,  because  he  goeth 
on  sound  evidence. 

4.  It  is  an  infinite,  perfect,  distinct  manner  of  knowing  things  :  Ps. 
cxlvii.  5,  '  His  understanding  is  infinite  :  Of  his  understanding  there  is 
no  search  ;'  Isa.  xl.  28  ;  it  is  beyond  the  reach  of  man's  shallow  capacity 
to  conceive  of  it.  I  add  this,  because  it  is  hard  for  us  to  understand  how 
God  should  at  once  know  all  things  that  are  done  by  so  many  several  men, 
in  so  many  several  parts  of  the  world,  and  hearken  to  all  their  prayers. 
Lucian  scoffed  at  the  heathen  gods,  as  if  they  were  forced  to  run  hither 
and  thither,  to  hear  the  prayers  made  in  the  eastern  and  western  parts 
of  the  world,  and  the  disorders  that  fell  out  in  Greece  while  the  gods 
were  banqueting  in  Ethiopia.  An  infinite  understanding  can  see  all 
things  at  once,  for  he  understandeth  all  things  in  a  way  different  from 
man ;  not  successively,  and  by  discourse  one  after  another.  A  man 
cannot  read  a  book  in  a  moment,  but  must  go  from  line  to  line,  and 
page  to  page ;  but  God  knoweth  all  things  in  an  instant,  and  that 
by  one  act  of  understanding,  as  if  a  man  could  read  a  book  through  by 
once  looking  on  it.  His  knowledge  is  not  confounded  with  multiplicity 
of  objects ;  as  God  had  a  prospect  of  the  whole  creation  at  once.  Gen. 
i,  31,  *  He  saw  all  that  he  had  made.'  It  is  all  one  to  him  to  know  all 
things,  and  know  but  one  thing.  When  two  or  three  speak  together, 
we  are  not  able  to  take  in  their  sense  and  meaning,  our  senses  and 
understandings  are  finite.  Now  when  many  speak  to  God  at  the  same 
time,  it  is  but  as  if  one  spake ;  an  infinite  eye  seeth  all,  and  an  infinite 
ear  heareth  all,  and  that  clearly  and  distinctly,  without  confusion. 

II.  The  reasons  which  the  scripture  giveth  for  the  belief  of  this 

1.  The  immensity  and  greatness  of  God  ;  God  is  in  all,  and  above 
all,  and  beyond  all,  nowhere  included,  and  nowhere  excluded.  And  so 
his  omnipresence  doth  establish  the  belief  of  his  omniscience :  Jer.  xxiii. 
23,  24,  '  Am  I  a  God  at  hand,  and  not  afar  off  ?  Do  not  I  fill  heaven 
and  earth  ?  can  any  hide  himself  in  secret  places,  that  I  should  not  see 
him  ?  '  God  is  everywhere,  not  only  with  respect  to  his  powerful  and 
efiicacious  providence,  but  with  respect  to  his  essential  presence.  God 
is  there  wherever  you  are.  Now  if  he  be  with  us,  surely  he  knoweth 
us.     He  is  present  with  all  the  world,  and  therefore  he  doth  regard  and 

VeR.  20.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  179 

observe  all  the  world :  you  may  take  liberty  to  sin  when  God  is  gone 
or  absent  from  you,  and  you  can  get  behind  his  back  ;  but  that  can 
never  be,  and  therefore  we  must  do  all  things  as  in  his  presence. 

2.  From  creation.  God  hath  made  our  hearts,  given  us  the  power 
to  affect,  think,  purpose,  and  do,  and  therefore  knoweth  what  is  in  us  : 
Ps.  xciv.  9,  10,  '  He  that  planted  the  ear,  shall  not  he  hear  ?  he  that 
formed  the  eye,  shall  not  he  see  ? '  God  knoweth  how  the  creature 
will  act,  for  he  gave  it  power  to  act.  Surely  he  that  made  man  know- 
eth what  is  in  man ;  his  knowledge  is  answerable  to  his  power.  He 
that  made  the  heart  of  man  observeth  what  they  do,  what  counsels 
they  have  in  hand.  This  argument  is  again  used,  Ps.  cxxxix.  13, 
'  Thou  hast  possessed  my  reins;  for  thou  hast  covered  me  in  my  mother's 
womb.'  He  that  made  our  heart,  knoweth  our  words,  woiks,  thoughts, 
and  all.  Once  more :  Ps.  xxxiii.  13-15,  '  The  Lord  looketh  from 
heaven  ;  he  beholdeth  all  the  sons  of  men.  From  the  place  of  his 
habitation  he  looketh  upon  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  earth.  He 
fashioneth  their  hearts  alike,  he  considereth  all  their  works.'  He  that 
formed  their  souls  as  well  as  their  bodies  is  able  to  judge  particularly 
the  operations  of  their  hearts.  Every  wise  agent  knoweth  what  he  doeth, 
and  to  what  end  he  maketh  anything,  and  how  it  may  be  used  or 
employed.  The  same  argument  is  urged  by  the  prophet  Isaiah,  chap, 
xxix.  16,  '  Shall  the  thing  formed  say  of  him  that  formed  it,  He  hath 
no  understanding  ?  '  This  is  brought  to  confute  them  that  say,  Who 
seeth  us,  who  knoweth  us  ?  or  thought  they  could  hide  their  counsels, 
so  as  God  should  not  see  them.  Alas  !  all  lieth  open  to  God's  eye,  as 
the  fashion  of  the  pot  of  clay  doth  to  the  potter :  God  cannot  be  igno- 
rant of  anything  that  is  in  his  own  work.  You  cannot  imagine  he 
knoweth  not  what  you  think  and  do ;  when  he  made  you,  if  he  had  so 
much  wisdom  to  give  you  the  power,  he  knoweth  the  act. 

3.  From  God's  government.  There  is  a  twofold  government  of  God, 
and  both  infer  the  truth  in  hand — 

[1.]  Powerful,  and  by  his  effectual  providence,  as  he  governeth  all 

[2.]  Moral,  by  his  laws,  as  he  governeth  the  reasonable  creature. 

[1.]  The  government  of  his  effectual  providence,  which  is  necessary 
to  all  our  actions  :  '  For  in  him  we  live,  and  move,  and  have  our  being,' 
Acts  xvii.  28.  All  things  move  as  he  moveth  them  in  their  natural 
agency.  The  creature  can  do  nothing  without  him,  and  actually  doth 
nothing  but  by  him :  his  wisdom  guideth,  his  will  intendeth  and  com- 
mandeth,  his  power  moveth  and  disposeth  all.  He  is  more  intimately 
present  with  us  than  we  are  with  ourselves,  governing  and  sustaining 
all  things  :  '  His  hand  leadeth  us,  and  his  right  hand  doth  still  uphold 
us,'  Ps.  cxxxix.  10.  We  cannot  do  anything,  go  anywhere,  without  his 
gracious  supportation.  Now  doth  God  support  a  creature  whom  he 
knoweth  not,  and  in  any  action  which  he  understandeth  not  ?  Christ 
knew  that  virtue  passed  from  him  when  the  multitude  thronged  him, 
Luke  viii.  45,  46.  In  the  great  throng  of  creatures  God  knoweth  who 
is  sustained  by  him,  and  to  whom  the  influence  of  his  providence 
leacheth.  Now  then,  since  he  is  as  verily  with  thee  in  every  place  as 
thou  art  there  thyself,  is  he  present  with  thee,  and  regardless  of  thee, 
of  thy  thoughts  and  words  and  ways  ?     It  cannot  be. 

180  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXVI. 

[2.]  His  moral  government.  All  persons  and  causes  of  men  are  to 
be  judged  by  liim,  and  therefore  are  most  eminently  and  fully  discovered 
to  him.  Surely  he  that  is  to  be  judged  of  God  must  be  clearly  known 
to  him,  both  as  to  his  actions  and  thoughts ;  how  else  can  he  judge 
righteously  either  now  or  hereafter  ?  Job  xxxiv.  21,  23,  '  His  eyes  are 
upon  the  ways  of  man,  and  he  seetli  all  his  goings.  Therefore  he  will 
not  lay  upon  man  more  than  is  right,  that  he  should  enter  into  judg- 
ment with  God  ; '  that  is,  will  not  excessively  and  unjustly  afflict  man  : 
Ps.  xciv.  10,  '  He  that  chastiseth  tlie  heathen,  shall  not  he  correct  ?  he 
that  teacheth  man  knowledge,  shall  not  lie  know  ?  ' 

III.  How  this  truth  is  entertained  by  men. 

1.  Some  atheistically  deny  it:  Job  xxii.  13,  14,  'And  thou  sayest, 
How  doth  God  know  ?  can  he  judge  through  the  thick  cloud  ?  Thick 
clouds  are  a.  covering  to  him,  that  he  seeth  not,  and  he  walketh  in  the 
circuit  of  heaven.'  Atheists  have  carnal  and  gross  thoughts  of  God, 
as  if  he  were  confined  within  the  heavens,  and  had  no  sense  and  care 
of  what  was  done  below,  or  had  other  business  to  mind  than  to  look 
after  the  sons  of  men  :  Ps.  Ixxiii.  11,  '  How  doth  God  know  ?  and  is 
there  knowledge  in  the  Most  High  ?  '  Many  that  dare  not  simply  deny 
a  deity,  yet  deny  a  providence  :  they  measure  God  by  themselves,  their 
own  shallow  conceptions ;  whereas  God  is  infinitely  exalted  above 
what  we  can  comprehend. 

2.  Some  question  it,  if  they  do  not  deny  it :  Isa.  xxix.  15,  '  Woe 
unto  them  that  seek  deep  to  hide  their  counsel  from  the  Lord,  and 
their  works  are  in  the  dark,  and  they  say,  Who  seeth  us  ?  and  who 
knoweth  us  ?  '  Ezek.  viii.  12, '  They  say,  Who  seeth  us  H  the  Lord  hath 
forsaken  the  earth.' 

3.  Some  forget  it :  he  is  not  far  from  us,  but  we  are  often  far  from 
him  ;  they  acknowledge  this  truth  in  the  general,  but  they  forget  it  in 
particular,  in  the  course  of  their  conversations  :  Ps.  xxxvi.  4,  *  The 
transgression  of  the  wicked  saith  within  my  heart,  that  there  is  no  fear 
of  God  before  their  eyes.'  What  could  he  do  worse,  if  no  God  to  take 
notice  of  him  ?  Profaneness  is  practical  atheism  ;  they  do  not  deny, 
but  forget ;  or  they  deny  not  in  words,  but  in  works.  We  should 
often  revive  this  thought,  God  knoweth,  and  taketh  notice  of  what  we 
do  :  Ps.  cxix.  168,  'I  have  kept  thy  precepts  and  thy  testimonies ; 
for  all  my  ways  are  before  thee. ' 

4.  Some  slight  it  through  impudence  and  obduration  in  sin  :  Zeph. 
i.  12,  '  The  Lord  will  do  neither  good  nor  evil.'  They  acknowledge 
there  is  a  God,  and  that  he  is  omniscient,  holy,  and  just,  yet  dare  sin 
against  him  :  Ps.  x.  17,  '  He  hath  said  in  his  heart,  The  Lord  will  not 
require  it.' 

5.  Most  carry  themselves  as  too  unmindful  of  it,  as  appeareth  by 
these  evidences. 

[1.]  In  the  general ;  men  would  be  other  manner  of  persons,  in  all 
holy  conversation  and  godliness,  if  they  did  always  set  God  before  them. 
The  all-seeing  eye  of  a  holy  God  would  make  them  more  circumspect  and 
watchful.  But  because  men  live  without  God  in  the  world,  therefore 
are  their  conversations  so  full  of  vanity  and  sin  :  Gen.  xvii.  1,  '  I  am 
God  Almighty,  walk  before  me,  and  be  thou  perfect.' 

[2.]  More  particularly ;  men  would  make  more  conscience  of  their 

VeR.  20.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  181 

tlioughts,  if  tiiey  did  remember  that  God  knoweth  their  thoughts 
afar  off,  Ps.  cxxxix.  2.  Would  they  indulge  themselves  in  such  a 
liberty  of  lustful,  covetous,  envious,  malicious,  and  unbelieving  thoughts, 
and  feed  their  minds  with  these  things,  if  they  did  well  consider  that 
God  knoweth  all  things  ? 

[3.J  The  disproportion  of  our  respects  to  God's  eye  and  man's :  they 
can  fancy  a  matter  in  the  dark,  and  not  be  troubled  about  it.  We  are 
usually  more  awed  with  the  presence  of  a  man  than  with  the  presence 
of  God.  You  will  do  that  which  God  knoweth,  which  you  would  not 
do  when  man  knoweth  it.  He  knoweth  your  fraud,  your  uncleanness, 
your  licentiousness  :  Jer.  ii.  26, '  The  thief  is  ashamed  when  he  is  found.' 
Job  xxiv.  17,  '  If  a  man  know  them,  they  are  in  the  terrors  of  the  sha- 
dow of  death.'  If  a  man  know  anything  amiss  by  them,  they  are  full 
of  anguish  and  shame.  Why  should  not  conscience  be  awakened  more 
by  thoughts  of  God's  knowledge  ?  It  would  trouble  us  to  have  a  win- 
dow into  our  hearts ;  is  not  all  open  and  naked  to  God's  eye  ?  In  short, 
how  watchful  are  we  not  to  incur  the  penalty  of  man's  law  !  but  of- 
fences against  God  are  lightly  passed  over. 

[4.]  The  best  have  not  such  a  sound  and  serious  belief  of  this  truth, 
nor  do  not  improve  it  as  they  ought  to  do,  as  appears  partly  because 
we  are  more  troubled  with  this  or  that  branch  of  corruption  which 
breaks  out  to  our  disgrace,  than  about  the  body  of  death,  or  indwelling 
sin,  which  is  the  cause  of  all ;  the  root  should  be  more  grievous  to  us 
than  the  branches.  Partly  by  this  ;  in  company,  what  lofty  expres- 
sions and  flowing  eloquence  will  men  enlarge  themselves  in  prayer  ! 
but  how  slight  and  overly  in  closet  duties,  if  not  too  commonly  neglect- 
ful of  them  !  What  is  this  but  in  effect  to  say  that  our  Father  doth 
not  see  in  secret  ?  Partly,  also,  what  will  you  say  if  we  are  troubled 
more  with  brokenness  of  expression  than  unbrokenness  of  heart  ?  the 
one  layeth  us  open  to  shame  and  disgrace  with  men,  the  other  is  more 
offensive  and  displeasing  to  God. 

IV.  What  use  shall  we  make  of  it  ? 

1.  Terror  to  the  wicked.  God  seeth  them  here  and  hereafter,  and 
will  call  them  to  an  account ;  there  is  no  escaping  his  sight  here,  nor 
shifting  his  tribunal  hereafter.  Adam,  by  running  to  the  bushes,  did 
not  hide  himself  from  the  Lord,  neither  did  he  hide  the  Lord  from 
himself.  God  seeth,  and  God  seeth  as  a  judge  :  Jer.  xxxii.  19,  '  Thine 
eyes  are  open  upon  all  the  ways  of  the  sons  of  men,  to  give  every  one 
according  to  his  ways,  and  according  to  his  doings.'  God  is  not  a  bare 
spectator  of  what  is  done  in  the  world,  but  a  judge,  an  avenger  of 
what  is  evil:  and  his  solemn  judgment  at  the  last  day  will  most  dis- 
cover his  omnisciency,  '  When  tiie  hidden  things  of  darkness  are  made 
manifest,  and  the  counsels  of  the  heart  are  brought  to  light,'  1  Cor. 
iv.  5.  In  that,  as  you  cannot  evade  his  knowledge,  you  cannot  escape 
liis  power. 

2.  Comfort  to  the  godly. 

[1.]  God  knoweth  their  persons:  Exod.  xxxiii.  12,  'I  know  thee  by 
name : '  he  taketb  special  notice  of  them.  All  tilings  are  under  a 
providence,  but  they  are  under  a  special  providence ;  a  father  cannot 
forget  how  many  cliildren  he  hath,  though  in  a  large  and  numerous 
family  he  cannot  presently  reckon  up  all  his  servants. 

182  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXVI. 

[2.]  God  knoweth  their  conditions,  wants,  and  necessities:  Mat.  vi. 
32, '  Your  heavenly  Father  Icnoweth  that  you  need  these  things  ; '  Exod, 
iii.  7, '  I  have  seen  the  afflictions  of  my  people,  and  known  their  sorrows.' 
God  is  so  well  acquainted  with  our  wants,  that  he  cannot  forget  us  nor 
neglect  us. 

[3.]  Our  prayers  are  heard,  not  lost  in  the  darkness  of  secrecy  :  Mat. 
vi.  6,  'Thy  Father  which  seeth  in  secret,  shall  reward  thee  openly.'  He 
that  knoweth  thy  heart,  will  give  thee  the  desire  of  thy  heart. 

[4.]  Thy  duties  are  rewarded,  and  rightly  understood.  First,  Certainly 
rewarded  :  2  Chron.  xvi.  9,  '  For  the  eyes  of  the  Lord  run  to  and  fro 
throughout  the  earth,  to  show  himself  strong  in  the  behalf  of  them 
whose  hearts  are  perfect  with  him  ; '  Heb.  vi.  10,  '  God  is  not  unright- 
eous to  forget  your  labour  of  love.'  Secondly,  Kightly  understood. 
Men  may  be  ignorant  of  what  we  do,  but  God  is  not ;  as  Potiphar 
was  ignorant  of  Joseph's  faithfulness ;  he  put  him  in  prison  for  his 
integrity.  Gen.  xxxiv.  19,  20 ;  the  butler  forgot  him,  Gen.  xl.  43. 
Some  will  not  own  it,  but  God  knoweth  :  1  Cor.  iv.  3,  '  But  with  me  it 
is  a  very  small  thing  that  I  should  be  judged  of  you,  or  of  man's  judg- 

Use.  Is  to  awaken  all  to  a  greater  mindfulness  of  this  truth. 

First,  Let  it  be  believed,  and  the  faith  of  it  more  settled  in  your 
hearts.  Besides  creation  and  providence,  and  God's  immensity  or  omni- 
presence and  government,  the  arguments  mentioned  before,  there  are 
evidences  of  it — 

1.  In  the  human  nature  of  Christ ;  he  discovered  himself  God 
while  he  was  in  the  flesh,  and  this  perfection  of  his  Godhead  did  shine 
forth  through  the  human  nature,  that  he  knew  men's  hearts,  and  their 
inward  thoughts.  He  turneth  out  the  very  inside  of  their  minds  in 
the  story  of  his  life  often  :  John  ii.  25,  '  He  knew  what  was  in  man.' 

2.  By  the  light  of  the  prophetical  spirit :  2  Kings  v.  26,  '  Went  not 
mine  heart  with  thee,  when  the  man  turned  again  from  his  chariot  to 
meet  thee  ?  '  As  if  he  had  said,  I  saw  him  light  out  of  his  chariot,  and 
what  he  gave  thee,  and  where  thou  laidst  it.  God  had  bestowed 
upon  him  an  extraordinary  spirit,  whereby  he  could  discern  things  done 
in  his  absence.  So  another  prophet,  Ahijah,  when  Jeroboam's  wife 
thought  to  have  put  a  cheat  upon  him,  his  eyes  being  dim  by  reason 
of  age:  1  Kings  xiv.  6,  '  Come  in,  thou  wife  of  Jeroboam,  why  feign- 
est  thou  thyself  to  be  another  ? ' 

3.  The  gift  of  discerning  spirits  bestowed  on  the  apostles,  1  Cor. 
xii.  10,  whether  church-gifts,  or  sincerity  of  men's  hearts,  in  order  to 
discipline :  Acts  v.  9,  '  How  is  it  that  ye  have  agreed  together  to 
tempt  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  ?  '  that  is,  the  prophetical  spirit. 

4.  Another  instance  is  God's  finding  us  out  in  our  secret  sins  by  his 
word,  searching  the  heart :  Heb.  iv.  12,  '  The  word  of  God  is  quick 
and  powerful,  and  sharper  than  a  two-edged  sword,  piercing  even  to 
the  dividing  asunder  of  soul  and  spirit,  and  of  the  joints  and  marrow, 
•and  is  a  discerner  of  the  thoughts  and  intents  of  the  heart ; '  1  Cor. 
xiv,  25,  '  And  thus  are  the  secrets  of  his  heart  made  manifest.'  By 
his  Spirit  enforcing  the  sense  of  our  secret  sins  upon  us :  Job  xiii,  26, 
*  Thou  writest  bitter  things  against  me,  and  makest  me  to  possess  the 
iniquities  of  my  youth.'     Old  sins,  long  since  forgotten,  come  into  fresh 

VeR.  20.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  183 

remembrance,  and  we  know  not  liow  to  get  rid  of  the  horrors  of  them. 
By  his  providence:  Num.  xxxii.  23,  'Behold,  )'e  have  sinned  against 
the  Lord  ;  and  be  sure  your  sin  will  find  you  out ; '  Gen.  xlii.  21,  '  We 
are  verily  guilty  concerning  our  brother,  in  that  we  saw  the  anguish 
of  his  soul  when  he  besought  us,  and  we  would  not  hear  him :  there- 
fore is  this  distress  come  upon  us.'  The  man  was  rough  and  untract- 
able  to  them,  as  they  had  been  to  their  brother :  afflictions  open  the 
eyes,  they  are  God's  rack. 

Secondly,  Remember  it  often  in  your  whole  conversation  ;  you  are 
always  before  God,  therefore  serve  him  '  in  holiness  and  righteousness 
all  the  days  of  thy  life,'  Luke  i.  75  ;  Prov,  xv.  21,  '  The  ways  of  a 
man  are  before  the  Lord,  and  he  pondereth  all  his  goings.'  He  weigheth 
every  circumstance  of  thy  life.  If  this  were  better  thought  of,  there 
would  be  less  disorder  in  the  world.  Heathens  gave  this  advice,  that 
in  the  presence  of  a  Cato,  or  severe  reprover,  there  needs  no  fiction  or 
supposition  in  the  case ;  and  a  greater  than  Cato  is  here.  God  is 
really  present  everywhere,  but  we  do  not  think  of  it.  He  seeth,  and 
'  is  of  purer  e)^es  than  to  behold  iniquity.'  We  should  inure  ourselves 
to  these  thoughts. 

Thirdly,  We  must  actually  revive  this  thought  in  solemn  duties, 
when  we  come  to  act  the  part  of  angels,  and  to  behold  the  face  of  our 
lieavenly  Father.  In  every  duty  God  knowetli  the  frame  of  our  hearts, 
and  affections;  and  wilt  thou  be  cold  and  careless  in  the  sight  of  God? 
There  God  immediately  is  the  party  with  whom  we  have  to  do,  in 
hearing  and  praying  :  Heb.  iv.  13,  '  Neither  is  there  any  creatiu-e  that 
is  not  manifest  in  his  sight ;  but  all  things  are  open  and  naked  unto 
the  eyes  of  him  with  whom  we  have  to  do;'  Acts  x.  33,  'Now  therefore 
we  are  all  here  present  before  God,  to  hear  all  things  that  are  com- 
manded thee  of  God.'  He  knoweth  what  thoughts  and  affections  are 
stirring  in  your  hearts  ;  God  is  everywhere  with  us,  but  we  are  not 
always  and  everywhere  with  God. 

Fourthly,  In  a  time  of  temptation.  When  sin  assaults  with  the 
advantage  of  secrecy,  and  otlier  inviting  circumstances  to  commit  it. 
Gen.  xxxix.  9,  say,  '  How  shall  I  do  this  wickedness,  and  sin  against 
God  ? '  We  must  check  it  by  this  consideration,  God  seeth,  God 
knoweth  :  Esther  vii.  8,  '  Will  he  force  the  queen  before  me  in  the 
house  ?  '     Shall  we  break  God's  laws  before  his  face  ? 

Fifthly,  To  make  you  faithful  in  your  stations.  God  invests  us  with 
them,  that  vve  may  improve  them  for  his  glory.  Magistrates:  2  Chron. 
xix.  1,  'The  Lord  is  with  you  in  the  judgment;'  Ps.  xcii.  1,  '  God 
standeth  in  the  congregation  of  the  mighty.'  Diodorus  Siculus  telleth 
us  of  some  heathens  who  had  some  empty  chairs  of  state  advanced 
above  their  tribunals  as  for  their  gods,  to  show  they  were  present,  and 
had  an  inspection  over  all  acts  of  judicature  :  Ezek.  v.  8,  'If  thou 
seest  the  oppression  of  the  poor,  and  violent  perverting  of  judgment 
and  justice  in  a  province,  marvel  not  at  the  matter ;  for  he  tliat  is 
higher  than  the  highest  regardeth,  and  thcie  be  higher  than  they.' 
Ministers  :  2  Cor.  ii.  17,  '  But  as  of  God,  in  the  sight  of  God  speak 
we  in  Ciirist ; '  1  Thes.  ii.  4,  '  Even  so  we  speak,  not  as  pleasing  men, 
but  God,'  who  trieth  our  hearts.  Masters  of  families  are  to  walk  in 
their  houses  with  a  perfect  heart :   Ps.  ci.  2,  '  I  will  behave  myself 


wisely  in  a  perfect  way  ;  I  will  walk  within  my  house  with  a  perfect 
heart.'  Though  shut  up  in  their  families  from  the  observation  of  others, 
yet  God  seeth  them  ;  therefore  behave  yourselves  wisely  and  prudently 
there.  Servants :  Col,  iii.  22,  23,  '  Servants,  obey  in  all  things  your 
masters  according  to  the  flesh  ;  not  with  eye-service,  as  men-pleasers, 
but  in  singleness  of  heart,  fearing  God  ;  and  whatever  ye  do,  do  it 
heartily,  as  to  the  Lord,  and  not  unto  men.' 


Beloved,  if  our  heart  condemn  us  not,  then  have  we  conjidence 
toioards  God. — 1  John  iii.  2L 

Here  is  the  effect  of  a  good  conscience.  In  the  words  we  have — (1.) 
A  condition  supposed,  '  If  our  hearts  condemn  us  not ;  '  (2.)  A  privi- 
lege asserted,  '  Then  have  we  confidence  towards  God.' 

First,  The  condition  supposed.  There  are  three  functions  and  offices 
of  conscience :  there  is,  first,  a  knowledge,  remembrance,  or  keeping 
up  of  principles,  according  to  which  our  state  and  actions  must  be 
interpreted ;  secondly,  a  sense  of  our  actions,  or  what  is  done,  or  left 
undone,  in  conformity  or  contrariety  to  those  principles ;  thirdly,  a 
judging  or  applying  to  ourselves  those  rules  which  concern  our  fact  or 
state.  As  to  the  first  act  and  office,  conscience  hath  the  force  of  a 
law  and  rule,  informing  us  of  good  or  evil.  With  respect  to  the  second 
act,  it  is  a  witness,  testifying  what  we  have  been  or  done.  With  respect 
to  the  last  act,  it  is  a  judge,  to  condemn  or  acquit  as  the  matter  shall 
require.  As,  for  instance,  in  that  copulate  axiom  which  you  have, 
Rom.  viii.  13,  'If  ye  live  after  the  flesh,  ye  shall  die ;  but  if  ye  through 
the  Spirit  do  mortify  the  deeds  of  the  body,  ye  shall  live.'  Take  the 
first  part ;  he  that  '  liveth  after  the  flesh  shall  die,'  meaning  the  second 
death  ;  there  conscience  interposeth  as  a  law  or  rule.  But  I  '  live  after 
the  flesh  ; '  there  conscience  interposeth  as  a  witness  :  therefore  I  shall 
die  the  second  death ;  there  it  condemneth  as  a  judge.  Take  the  second 
clause,  and  you  will  have  an  instance  of  conscience  not  condemning  or 
acquitting  :  '  They  that  by  the  Spirit  do  mortify  the  deeds  of  the  body 
shall  live  ; '  but  I  mortify  the  deeds  of  the  body,  therefore  I  shall  live. 
Now  if  conscience  goeth  upon  a  right  principle,  and  beareth  true  evi- 
dence, the  sentence  and  judgment  remaineth  firm,  or  in  full  force,  be  it 
by  way  of  condemnation  or  absolution.  As  in  the  first  reasoning,  the 
conclusion  must  needs  breed  sorrow,  trouble,  and  dejection  of  heart, 
which  must  not  be  put  off  till  God  put  it  away  ;  that  is,  till  we  break 
off  our  fleshly  course  of  living,  and  obtain  our  pardon  and  peace  by 
Jesus  Christ.  In  the  second  reasoning  the  sentence  of  absolution  is  a 
ground  of  comfort,  and  giveth  boldness  in  our  approaches  to  God. 
Once  more,  conscience  may  condemn  us  two  ways — in  part  or  in 
whole ;  according  to  the  strictness  of  the  first  covenant,  requiring 
unsinning  obedience  ;  on  the  equitable  terms  of  the  second,  accepting 

VeR.  21.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  185 

our  sincere  obedience.  Our  hearts  may  accuse  us  of  imperfection,  but 
not  of  insincerity  and  hypocrisy,  or  partial  dealing  with  God.  In  this 
latter  sense  is  the  text  taken. 

Secondly,  The  privilege,  '  Then  have  we  confidence  towards  God.' 

1.  What  is  this  confidence  ? 

[1.]  It  is  sometimes  put  for  boldness,  or  not  fearing  any  danger  or 
evil  from  one :  1  John  ii.  28, '  That  when  he  shall  appear  we  may  have 
boldness,  and  not  be  ashamed  at  his  coming.'  And  so  the  sense  will 
be.  You  need  not  fear  any  danger  from  him  ;  for  God  will  not  be 
wanting  to  them  that  walk  sincerely  before  him.  So  it  is  said  the 
'  righteous  are  bold  as  a  lion,'  Prov.  xxviii.  1.  So  Phil.  i.  20,  '  Accord- 
ing to  my  earnest  expectation  and  my  hope,  that  in  nothing  I  shall  be 
ashamed,  but  that,  with  all  boldness,  as  always,  so  now,  Christ  shall  be 
magnified  in  my  body,  whether  it  be  by  life  or  death.'  That  he  should 
boldly  avow  the  truth,  as  fearless  of  any  danger ;  living  and  dying,  he 
should  glorify  Christ.  A  christian  feareth  nothing  that  is  established 
upon  sound  terms :  Ps.  xxiii.  4,  '  Though  I  walk  through  the  valley 
of  the  shadow  of  death,  I  will  fear  no  evil.'  They  are  not  discouraged 
and  disquieted,  as  others,  with  the  apprehensions  of  danger ;  as  not 
from  men,  so  not  from  God,  to  whom  they  look  chiefly.  Fear  and 
dread  of  God's  displeasure  followeth  the  consciousness  of  sin,  but 
expectation  and  hope  of  reward  and  good  countenance  from  God  is  the 
natural  result  of  righteousness  and  holiness.  This  is  the  first  notion 
of  the  word  'confidence,'  and  not  to  be  excluded  here. 

[2.]  It  signifieth  liberty  in  prayer,  a  telling  God  all  our  mind,  and 
so  it  signifieth  praying  freely  to  God,  and  asking  of  him  whatever  we 
stand  in  need  of ;  a  freedom  to  speak  our  hearts  and  open  our  minds 
to  God  in  all  necessities :  Eph.  iii.  12,  '  In  whom  we  have  boldness, 
and  access  with  confidence,  through  the  faith  of  him ; '  and  Heb.  iv. 
16,  'Let  us  come  boldly  to  the  throne  of  grace.'  We  may  present  our- 
selves and  our  requests  before  him  with  confidence.  Only  let  me  note, 
that  this  confidence  noteth  liberty  of  heart  rather  than  liberty  of  speech  ; 
not  a  flowing  of  words  so  much  as  a  holy  confidence  of  audience  and 
acceptance  whenever  we  draw  nigh  unto  him. 

2.  In  what  sense  we  may  be  said  to  have  it.  It  may  be  understood 
de  facto  or  dejure.  It  is  not  meant  of  the  first  only,  for  two  reasons — 
(1.)  Because  otherwise  it  were  not  an  argument  of  the  value  of  the 
testimony  of  conscience  if  we  have  confidence  towards  God,  and  he  doth 
not  allow  it  or  approve  it ;  for  though  he  doth  not  say,  If  our  hearts 
condemn  us  not,  God  will  not  condemn  us,  as  in  the  former  verse, '  God 
is  greater  than  our  hearts,  and  knoweth  all  things ; '  yet  it  must  be 
understood,  or  else  the  apostle's  reasoning  were  impertinent.  (2.) 
Because  de  facto  all  that  are  sincere  have  not  this  confidence  ;  they 
liave  a  right  to  it,  though  they  enjoy  it  not ;  for  there  needeth  another 
Avitness  :  Rom.  viii.  16,  '  The  Spirit  itself  bearetli  witness  with  our 
spirit  that  we  are  the  children  of  God.' 

Doct  That  a  good  conscience  is  one  means  to  open  an  effectual  door 
to  us  for  free  and  full  communion  with  God. 

I  shall  prove  two  things  to  you — 

1.  That  it  is  a  great  privilege  to  have  free  and  full  communion  with 
God  in  bis  worship. 


2.  That  a  good  conscience  hath  a  great  influence  on  this. 

I.  For  the  first,  that  free  and  full  communion  with  God  in  his  wor- 
ship, expressed  here  by  boldness,  or  'confidence  towards  God,'  is  a 
great  privilege.    This  will  appear  if  3'ou  consider — 

1.  Man's  forfeiture  by  sin ;  God's  image,  favour,  and  fellowship  lost 
all  at  once.  All  sweet  commerce  between  us  and  God  was  cut  off, 
as  is  evident  by  the  story  of  the  fall,  where  you  will  find  man  first  a 
fugitive,  and  then  an  exile.  First  he  ran  away  from  God,  and  then 
God  banished  him  out  of  his  presence.  Gen.  iii.  8.  When  God  came 
walking  in  the  garden  in  the  cool  of  the  day,  Adam  and  his  wife  hid 
themselves,  as  being  afraid  of  the  presence  of  the  Lord ;  they  shuffled 
out  of  the  way,  and  ran  among  the  trees  of  the  garden ;  and  afterwards 
we  read  again,  ver.  23,  24,  that  God  sent  him  forth,  and  drove  him  out 
of  his  presence,  and  set  a  guard  of  cherubims,  and  a  flaming  sword 
turning  every  way  upon  paradise,  which  was  a  figure  of  his  wrath. 
As  it  was  thus  with  Adam,  so  it  was  with  all  his  posterity  ;  sin  is  the 
wall  of  partition  between  us  and  God:  Isa.  lix.  2,  'Your  iniquities 
have  separated  between  you  and  your  God,  and  your  sins  have  hid  his 
face  from  you,  that  he  will  not  hear/ 

2.  The  estrangement  of  the  heart  that  grows  upon  this  forfeiture, 
as  appeareth  by  that  legal  bondage  and  those  guilty  fears  which  are 
natural  to  us.  Sinners  fear  God,  and  fly  from  him :  '  I  was  afraid, 
and  hid  myself,'  saith  Adam,  Gen.  iii.  10 ;  and  all  his  posterity  have 
the  same  disposition  :  Isa.  xxxiii.  14,  '  Who  among  us  can  dwell  with 
devouring  burnings  ?  '  Yea,  it  appeareth  by  the  bashfulness  and  in- 
confidence  that  befalleth  the  children  of  God  by  reason  of  sin.  The 
fears  of  a  guilty  child  make  him  shun  his  father's  presence,  as  David 
kept  silence  when  he  had  sinned,  Ps.  xxxii.  3.  Strangeness  and  dis- 
tance groweth  between  God  and  us  while  sin  lieth  on  the  conscience. 

3.  The  majesty  of  God,  and  the  state  which  he  kept  during  the  old 
testament  dispensation.  In  the  whole  frame  of  that  worship,  God 
would  show  them  how  unworthy  sinners  were  to  approach  and  draw 
nigh  to  him  and  his  holy  things.  When  they  were  married  to  him 
in  the  covenant  on  Mount  Sinai,  there  was  a  rail  between  him  and  the 
people,  and  they  were  not  to  go  up  into  the  holy  mount,  or  touch  the 
border  of  it,  under  penalty  of  being  put  to  death,  Exod.  xix.  12,  18. 
In  their  passage  to  Canaan,  the  common  Israelite  was  not  to  come 
near  the  ark  lest  he  died,  Num.  i.  .53,  but  the  Levites  were  to  inter- 
pose between  God  and  them.  The  Levites  also  were  not  to  be  too  bold  ; 
some  of  them  were  chosen  out  to  touch  the  staves  of  the  altar,  and 
perform  other  ministries,  but  not  to  see  the  holy  things  when  covered, 
lest  they  died.  Num.  xix.  20.  Sinful  man  must  not  come  too  near  the 
great  God.  The  priests  were  to  minister  at  the  altar  of  burnt-offerings, 
but  not  without  solemn  washings,  Exod.  xxx.  20.  The  high  priest 
(Lev.  xvi.  2,  '  And  the  Lord  said  unto  Moses,  Speak  unto  Aaron  thy 
brother,  that  he  come  not  at  all  times  into  the  holy  place  within  the 
veil  before  the  mercy-seat,  which  is  upon  the  ark,  that  he  die  not ')  was 
not  to  be  too  familiar  with  God;  and  if  any  of  these  orders  were  broken, 
judgments  were  executed,  and  they  were  struck  dead  in  the  place. 
The  people  were  sensible  of  these  restraints  :  Num.  xvii.  17,  18,  '  And 
the  children  of  Israel  said  unto  Moses,  Behold,  we  die,  we  perish,  we 

VeR.  21.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  1S7 

all  perish.  Whosoever  cometh  anything  near  unto  the  tabernacle  of 
the  Lord  shall  die  :  shall  we  be  consumed  with  dying  ?  '  Some  weio 
killed  with  the  sword,  the  earth  swallowed  up  others,  some  died  with 
pestilence,  and  all  for  making  too  bold  with  God  in  his  holy  things. 

4.  The  many  failings  which  the  best  are  conscious  of.  When  we 
consider  the  exact  inspection  of  God,  and  the  many  infirmities  of  the 
best  christians,  it  is  a  wonder  they  can  have  any  confidence  towards 
God,  when  our  own  conscience  condemneth  us  of  many  things ;  but 
the  Lord  layeth  not  them  to  our  charge  where  the  heart  is  sincere  for 
the  main  ;  and  he  could  observe  many  more  things  against  us  than  our 
consciences  do,  yet  such  is  his  mercy  and  fatherly  love,  that  he  will 
pardon  and  reverse  all  these  failings,  and  will  delight  in  our  converse 
with  him  :  Prov.  xv,  8,  '  The  prayer  of  the  upright  is  his  delight.' 
God  looketh  more  to  their  good  than  their  ill ;  though  he  knoweth 
more  by  them  than  all  the  world,  or  they  themselves  do,  yet  if  our 
hearts  do  not  reprove  us  of  partial  dealings,  we  may  plead,  2  Kings 
XX.  3,  '  I  beseech  thee,  0  Lord,  remember  now  how  I  have  walked 
before  thee  in  truth  and  with  a  perfect  heart,  and  have  done  that  which 
is  good  in  thy  sight.' 

5.  The  thing  itself  is  very  valuable.  This  confidence  towards  God, 
what  is  there  in  it  ? 

[1.]  A  readiness  to  converse  with  God  and  come  into  his  presence  ; 
whereas  otherwise  the  heart  is  shy  of  him,  and  hangeth  off  from  him  ; 
as  Israel,  when  they  had  sinned  in  the  matter  of  the  calf,  they  durst  not 
come  near  the  sanctuary,  but  worshipped  every  man  afar  off  at  his 
tent-door,  Exod.  xxxiii.  8,  as  looking  what  success  Moses'  mediation 
would  have  with  the  Lord  about  reconciling  him  to  his  people,  when 
he  was  angry  and  ready  to  depart.  Now  when  we  can  cheerfully  come 
into  God's  presence,  and  converse  with  him,  we  have  boldness  to  enter 
into  the  holiest,  Heb.  x.  9  ;  we  have  leave  to  come,  and  a  heart  to 
come  :  to  have  both  is  a  very  great  privilege.  Liberty  of  access,  with 
assurance  of  welcome  and  audience,  surely  is  a  great  favour  and  privi- 
lege ;  the  soul  cannot  keep  away  from  God. 

[2.]  A  free  familiarity.  When  we  come,  we  unbosom  ourselves  to 
him  as  a  man  would  unto  his  friend,  and  tell  God  all  our  mind,  acquaint 
liim  with  all  our  griefs,  sorrows,  fears,  hopes,  desires,  temptations,  con- 
flicts ;  tell  him  plainly  how  it  is  with  our  souls.  This  is  that  free 
spirit  David  begs  for,  and  had  lost  some  degree  of  it  by  his  sin,  Ps.  li. 
12,  and  is  set  forth  by  Ps.  cxix.  26,  '  I  declared  my  ways,  and  thou 
heardest  me.'  We  keep  back  nothing  from  him  :  Ps.  Ixii.  8,  '  Trust 
in  hira  at  all  times,  pour  out  your  hearts  before  him.'  We  lay  down 
our  burden  at  his  feet;  we  deal  openly  and  plainly  with  him. 

[3.]  A  childlike  trust,  that  he  will  pity  and  hel'})us,  that  our  persons 
and  duties  are  accepted  with  him  ;  for  much  of  the  disposition  of 
children  lieth  in  owning  him  as  a  Father.  The  spirit  of  adoption  was 
given  us  to  this  end  and  purpose :  Rom.  viii.  15, '  13ut  we  have  received 
the  Spirit  of  adoption,  whereby  we  cry,  Abba,  Father ; '  and  Gal.  iv. 
16,  'He  hath  sent  forth  the  Spirit  of  his  Son  into  our  iiearts,  whereby 
we  cry,  Abba,  Father,'  Oh,  what  a  mercy  is  this,  to  come  to  him,  not 
as  our  judge,  but  as  our  Father,  not  with  a  spirit  of  fear,  but  love  ! 
It  is  not  a  tribunal  of  justice  we  stand  before,  but  a  throne  of  grace. 


Surely  to  have  a  merciful  reconciled  Father  to  go  to,  and  make  our 
moan  for  relief  in  all  our  distresses  and  wants,  is  a  very  comfortable 
privilege,  that  we  cannot  sufficiently  value.  Whosoever  scorneth  and 
slights  him,  a  christian  knoweth  where  he  may  be  welcome  :  '  My 
friends  scorn  me,  but  mine  eye  poureth  out  tears  to  God,'  Job  xvi.  20. 
Though  slighted  elsewhere,  he  will  not  be  refused  there.  Surely  God 
will  deal  kindly  with  his  children  ;  his  fatherly  love  will  not  suffer  him 

neglect  them,  or  any  of  their  concernments. 

[4.]  The  rich  treasure  that  we  have  an  interest  in  and  free  access 
unto.  God's  all-sufficiency  is  our  storehouse ;  he  hath  grace  enough 
to  pardon  our  sins,  to  pity  and  relieve  our  miseries,  to  heal  our  natures, 
supply  our  necessities,  to  help  us  in  our  straits,  and  finally  to  save  us 
with  an  everlasting  salvation.  This  confidence  implieth  a  dependence 
on  God's  all-sufficiency,  Gen.  xvii.  1.  Cast  all  your  care  upon  him, 
1  Peter  v.  7.  Earthly  parents,  their  affections  and  power  are  limited. 
Now  to  come  to  such  a  God  every  day,  and  to  know  that  as  often  as 
we  come  we  are  welcome  to  him,  in  and  through  Christ,  our  persons 
and  prayers  are  pleasing  to  him,  and  that  he  will  give  us  all  the 
things  we  ask  of  him  according  to  his  will,  what  a  mercy  is  this ! 

II.  What  influence  hath  a  good  conscience  upon  it  ? 

1.  The  door  of  access  to  God  is  opened  by  Christ.  It  was  first 
opened  by  the  merit  of  his  passion,  and  is  still  kept  open  by  his  inter- 
cession ;  therefore  it  is  said,  Heb.  iv,  15,  16,  '  For  we  have  not  a  high 
priest  who  cannot  be  touched  with  the  feeling  of  our  infirmities,  but 
was  in  all  points  tempted  like  as  we  are,  yet  without  sin.  Let  us  there- 
fore come  boldly  unto  the  throne  of  grace,  that  we  may  obtain  mercy, 
and  find  grace  to  help  in  a  time  of  need ; '  Heb.  x.  19, '  Having  therefore, 
brethren,  boldness  to  enter  into  the  holiest  by  the  blood  of  Jesus.' 
Our  peace  and  atonement  was  made  with  God  by  Christ's  passion, 
represented  and  pleaded  by  his  intercession. 

2.  It  supposeth  our  justification  by  faith,  for  otherwise  we  are  not 
entered  into  the  evangelical  state:  Eom  v.  1,  2,  'Being  justified  by 
faith,  we  have  peace  with  God,  through  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ ;  by 
whom  also  we  have  access  by  faith.'  Till  we  are  accepted  in  the 
Beloved,  we  have  a  charge  lying  against  us :  Acts  xiii.  38,  39,  '  Be  it 
known  unto  you  therefore,  men  and  brethren,  that  through  this  man  is 
preached  unto  you  the  forgiveness  of  sins;  and  by  him  all  that 
believe  are  justified  from  all  things,  from  which  ye  could  not  be 
justified  by  the  law  of  Moses.'  This  is  a  ground  of  rejoicing :  Rom. 
viii.  33,  34,  '  Who  then  shall  lay  anything  to  the  charge  of  God's 
elect  ? ' 

3.  Our  justification  is  evident  to  us  when  conscience  witnesseth  on 
good  grounds  that  we  do  not  allow  ourselves  in  the  omission  of  any 
known  duty,  nor  in  the  commission  of  any  known  sin  :  Heb.  x,  22,  *  Let 
us  draw  near  with  a  true  heart,  in  full  assurance  of  faith,  having  our 
hearts  sprinkled  from  an  evil  conscience,  and  our  bodies  washed  with 
pure  water.'  When  we  are  justified  and  sanctified,  and  our  con- 
sciences, which  were  unquiet  by  reason  of  sin,  are  purged  and  purified, 
then  we  may  cheerfully  come  to  God  for  all  things.  Particularly — 
(1.)  To  remove  terror ;   (2.)  To  establish  boldness  and  confidence. 

VeR.  21.]  SERMONS  UrON  1  JOHN  III.  189 

[1.]  To  remove  terror.  There  are  two  things  obstruct  our  soul's 
access  to  God — our  own  guiltiness  and  God's  terror. 

(1.)  Our  own  guiltiness,  that  straitens  the  heart,  and  stoppeth  the 
mouth,  and  breedeth  bondage  in  us.  All  the  world  naturally  is 
become  guilty  before  God,  Eom.  iii.  19 ;  but  they  who  are  renewed 
and  pardoned,  they  come  out  of  this  guilty  and  wretched  estate,  and 
by  little  and  little  are  settled  and  established  as  to  their  consciences, 
as  their  pardon  and  sauctification  is  made  more  evident  to  them  by  a 
holy  conversation :  Rom.  vi.  14,  '  For  sin  shall  have  no  dominion  over 
you.'  Where  sin  reignetli  not,  they  come  to  understand  their  estate  by 
grace,  and  so  vanquish  their  legal  fears.  Where  worldly  and  fleshly 
lusts  bear  sway,  a  man  is  under  the  law,  not  under  grace.  The  law  is 
alive  or  dead  according  to  the  state  a  man  is  in,  either  of  sin  or  holi- 
ness. He  that  liveth  in  a  state  of  sin  still  carrieth  his  sting  and  wound 
about  him,  and  is  always  under  doubts  and  fears,  or  hath  the  matter 
and  ground  of  them.  Certainly  tliey  have  not  the  true  courage  and 
boldness  of  the  saints.  Not  only  their  flesh  and  spirit  is  at  war  in 
their  hearts,  but  law  and  grace.  As  the  Spirit  prevaileth  against  the 
flesh,  so  doth  grace  prevail  against  our  law-fears  :  '  For  tbey  that  are 
led  by  the  Spirit,  are  not  under  the  law,'  Gal.  v.  18  ;  that  is,  not  under 
its  condemning  power.  So  Rom.  viii.  14,  '  Ye  have  not  received  the 
spirit  of  bondage  again  to  fear,  but  the  Spirit  of  adoption,  whereby  we 
cry,  Abba,  Father.'  If  we  live  in  obedience  to  the  motions  of  the 
sanctifying  Spirit,  he  doth  as  a  Spirit  of  adoption  overcome  our  legal 

(2.)  God's  terror.  God  is  our  friend  and  Father  in  Christ ;  not  a 
terrible  judge,  but  a  reconciled  Father;  and  his  throne  is  not  a  judg- 
ment-seat, but  a  mercy-seat.  He  is  terrible  to  those  that  lie  in  their 
sins;  they  look  upon  him  as  a  malefactor  doth  upon  his  judge,  a  rigid 
lawgiver  or  severe  avenger  ;  as  a  condemning  God,  not  as  a  pardoning 
God.  But  not  so  to  those  that  are  adopted  and  taken  into  his  family  ; 
he  maketh  the  renewed  and  sanctified  his  children,  and  is  pleased  to 
own  them  as  a  Father  :  '  That  we  should  be  holy,  and  without  blame 
before  him  in  love  ;  having  predestinated  us  to  the  adoption  of  children,' 
Eph.  i.  4-6.  Surely  when  God  is  our  Father,  the  chief  cause  of  all  our 
fear  and  trouble  is  gone.  We  have  no  cause  to  fear  the  flames  of  hell, 
or  sting  of  death,  and  the  terror  of  the  judgment,  any  further  than  to 
make  ready  for  the  day  of  judgment.  Surely  then  we  can  not  only 
draw  nigh  to  God,  and  behold  his  face  with  comfort  and  confidence 
now,  and  rejoice  in  his  presence  with  us  in  the  ordinances,  but  also 
look  and  long  for  his  appearance,  when  he  shall  come  in  his  glory  : 
2  Tim.  iv,  8,  '  Henceforth  there  is  laid  up  for  me  a  crown  of  righteous- 
ness, which  the  Lord,  the  righteous  judge,  shall  give  me  at  that  day  ; 
and  not  to  me  only,  but  unto  all  them  that  love  his  appearing  ; '  Rev. 
xxii.  20,  '  He  who  testifieth  these  things  saith.  Surely  I  come  quickly, 
Amen.    Even  so  come  Lord  Jesus.' 

[2.]  To  establish  boldness  and  confidence  ;  for — 

(1.)  There  is  an  everlasting  merit  to  depend  upon,  and  that  is  the 
blood  of  Christ,  quieting  the  conscience  :  Heb.  ix.  14,  '  How  much 
more  shall  the  blood  of  Christ,  who  through  the  eternal  Spirit  offered 
himself  without  spot  to  God,  purge  our  consciences  from  dead  works 


to  serve  the  living  God  ? '  Heb.  xii.  24,  '  And  to  Jesus,  the  mediator 
of  the  new  covenant,  and  to  the  blood  of  sprinkling,  that  speaketh 
better  things  than  the  blood  of  Abel.'  We  are  admitted  for  Christ's 
sake,  and  have  only  his  righteousness  to  plead  against  the  first  cove- 

(2.)  Here  is  a  blessed  covenant,  wherein  God  hath  showed  his  will- 
ingness to  accept  us,  and  hath  given  us  his  warrant  for  the  discharge 
of  the  sincere  and  upright :  Rom.  viii.  1,  'There  is  now  no  condemnation 
to  them  that  are  in  Christ,  who  walk  not  after  the  flesh,  but  after  the 
Spirit.'  Therefore,  if  our  consciences  do  not  charge  us  with  a  doubling 
with  God,  what  should  disquiet  our  minds  ? 

(3.)  There  is  a  sure  claim,  and  that  is  sincerity,  when  our  hearts 
condemn  us  not,  nor  reproach  us  for  any  voluntary  wilful  neglect  of  or 
disobedience  to  the  laws  of  Christ,  or  living  in  any  wilful  and  allowed 
sin  ;  yea,  rather  acquit  us,  assure  us  of  such  sincerity  to  God  and  Christ, 
that  we  can  appeal  to  his  all-seeing  eye  :  John  xxi.  17,  '  And  he  said 
unto  him,  Lord,  thou  knowest  all  things,  thou  knowest  that  I  love  thee.' 
Now  surely  all  this  will  breed  boldness,  and  be  matter  of  joy  and  con- 
fidence to  us  :  2  Cor  i.  12,  '  For  our  rejoicing  is  this,  the  testimony  of 
our  conscience,  that,  in  simplicity  and  godly  sincerity,  we  have  had  our 
conversation  in  the  world.' 

Object.  Will  not  this  strengthen  the  security  of  the  wicked,  to  leave 
all  upon  the  judgment  of  conscience?  Jer.  xvii.  9,  'The  heart  is 
deceitful  above  all  things,  and  desperately  wicked;  who  can  know  it?' 
Many  men's  consciences  do  not  condemn  them ;  they  absolve  themselves 
with  great  confidence,  which  is  not  to  be  imputed  to  the  strength  of 
their  faith,  but  the  hardness  of  their  hearts. 

Ans.  1.  Wicked  men  are  never  perfect  as  appertaining  to  the  consci- 
ence ;  they  have  not  a  true  sound  peace ;  it  is  but  a  truce,  as  appeareth 
because  it  is  so  soon  disturbed  by  the  seriousness  of  their  own  thoughts, 
their  troubles,  the  agonies  of  death.  A  dead  stupid  conscience  they  have, 
but  not  the  rejoicing  of  faith  and  liberty  towards  God.  It  is  not  the 
lively  sense  of  God's  love  ;  their  hearts  reproach  them,  though  they 
regard  it  not. 

Ans.  2.  It  doth  suppose  that  conscience  doth  its  office  rightly,  and  that 
all  things  concur  which  are  necessary  to  a  good  conscience.     As — 

[1.]  Some  competent  knowledge  of  the  gospel,  the  privileges  and 
duties  thereof.  Carnal  men  are  bold  through  ignorance.  Now, 
'  without  knowledge  the  heart  is  not  good,'  Prov.  xix.  2  ;  as  in  out- 
ward courts,  through  ignorance  of  law  or  false  evidence,  wrong  sentence 
may  be  given.  Therefore  the  apostle  supposeth  them  to  be  persons 
wliose  hearts  and  consciences  are  in  some  measure  enlightened  in  the 
things  of  God,  and  are  still  inquiring  what  is  his  holy,  good,  and  ac- 
ceptable will. 

[2.]  One  that  hath  heartily  consented  to  the  new  covenant  so  under- 
stood :  1  Peter  iii.  21,  '  Baptism  doth  also  now  save  us,  not  the  putting 
away  of  the  filth  of  the  flesh,  but  the  answer  of  a  good  conscience 
towards  God.'  When  they  answer  to  the  Lord's  offers  and  demands 
in  the  gospel,  thankfully  accepting  the  offered  benefits,  faithfully  re- 
solving, by  the  strength  of  the  Lord's  grace,  to  perform  the  required 
duties,  this  is  the  covenant  made  with  God  in  baptism. 

VeR.  21.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  Ilf.  191 

[3.]  Those  that  set  their  hearts  to  fulfil  their  covenant- vow :  ver.  22, 
*  Whatsoever  we  ask  we  receive  of  him,  because  we  keep  his  command- 
ments, and  do  the  thiogs  which  are  pleasing  in  his  sight.'  Now  those,  if 
their  hearts  do  not  condemn  them  of  doubling,  and  dealing  insincerely 
with  God,  they  have  liberty  and  confidence  :  Gal.  vi.  16,  'As  many  as 
walk  according  to  this  rule,  peace  and  mercy  be  upon  them,  as  upon 
the  whole  Israel  of  God.'  On  the  contrary  :  Ps.  Ixvi.  18,  '  If  I  regard 
iniquity  in  my  heart,  the  Lord  will  not  hear  me.'  In  short,  then,  those 
that  allow  no  sin,  complain  of  it,  fight  against  it,  and  study  to  please 
God  in  all  things,  and  abound  therein  more  and  more ;  those  are 
declared  to  be  sincere  that  seek  to  be  without  ofience,  Phil.  i.  10.  If 
men  walk  crookedly,  they  break  their  confidence,  and  cannot  look  God 
in  the  face  with  any  comfort. 

[4.]  That  the  case  be  well  studied  and  weighed  before  conscience 
pronounceth  and  passeth  the  doom,  for  the  heart  is  very  deceitful : 
1  Cor.  xi.  29,  '  Let  a  man  examine  himself ; '  2  Cor.  xiii.  5,  '  Examine 
yourselves  whether  ye  be  in  the  faith ;  prove  yourselves ; '  when  a 
man  well  knowing  his  duty  doth  often  search  and  examine  himself, 
his  conformity  and  inconformity  thereunto,  to  see  if  any  of  these  be 
wanting.  Blind  men  cannot  judge  of  colours.  If  no  hearty  consent 
to  the  covenant  of  grace,  founded  in  the  blood  of  Christ,  he  hath  not 
taken  the  course  to  pacify  conscience.  If  it  be  not  his  hearty  and  daily 
endeavour  to  please  God,  it  is  impudence,  not  confidence  ;  if  there  be 
slightness  before  the  matter  be  debated,  and  doth  undergo  a  full  trial 
and  hearing,  it  is  rashness  and  presumption,  hypocrisy  and  senseless 

Use  1.  That  liberty  in  prayer  is  so  great  a  mercy,  that  we  should 
rot  easily  sin  it  away,  and  make  our  sincerity  questionable ;  the 
heavenly  trade  is  then  interrupted,  and  comfortable  commerce  between 
God  and  us  broken  off.  Before  we  come  into  God's  glorious  presence, 
he  first  traineth  us  up  by  inviting  us  into  his  gracious  presence,  and 
the  throne  of  grace  is  the  porch  of  heaven.  God  taketh  this  course, 
not  only  to  settle  our  affections,  that  we  may  begin  that  acquaintance 
here  which  there  shall  be  perfected  and  consummated,  but  to  try  our 
confidence.  If  we  cannot  come  to  God  in  prayer,  how  shall  we  come 
to  God  in  heaven,  and  in  a  dying  hour  cheerfully  set  sail  for  eternity, 
and  launch  into  the  other  world  ?  Now  whilst  we  are  insincere,  serious 
prayer  is  irksome  ;  we  can  have  no  delight  in  God's  company,  or  com- 
fortable thoughts  of  him  ;  while  we  indulge  any  secret  sin,  every  duty 
is  a  penance  to  us.  Therefore  do  not  lose  your  liberty  and  openuess 
of  heart  to  God,  but  preserve  the  friendship  settled  in  the  covenant  of 
grace  inviolable  and  entire. 

2.  That  God's  presence,  which  is  the  comfort  of  the  faithful,  is  the 
burden  of  the  carnal  and  the  guilty.  The  presence  of  God  is  terrible 
to  sinners ;  they  think  they  are  never  better  than  when  farthest  off 
from  God  and  most  forget  God.  The  devil  and  the  wicked  sympa- 
thise :  Mat.  viii.  29,  '  What  have  we  to  do  with  thee,  Jesu.s,  thou  Son 
of  God?  art  thou  come  hither  to  torment  us  before  the  time .^'  Job 
xxi.  14,  '  They  say  unto  God,  Depart  from  us,  we  desire  not  the  know- 
ledge of  thy  ways.'  God's  presence  and  company  is  a  burden  to  them. 
Now  into  what  a  miserable  condition  hath  sin  brought  men !     It  hath 


changed  their  joy  and  content  into  the  greatest  terror.     Wicked  men 
can  neither  fly  from  God's  presence,  nor  yet  well  endure  it. 

Use  2.  To  press  christians  to  keep  a  good  conscience.  If  you  wouM 
maintain  your  liberty  and  confidence  towards  Grod,  carry  yourselves  so 
that  conscience  may  not  condemn  you.  There  are  so  many  blessed 
fruits  accompany  it,  that  we  should  value  it  the  more.  If  you  have  it 
not,  you  want  liberty  in  prayer,  here  mentioned  ;  no  hope  of  glory,  no 
sweetness  in  the  word,  no  readiness  in  duty,  nor  strength  to  resist  sin, 
nor  comfort  in  distresses  and  afflictions.  But  if  you  have  it,  you  can- 
not conceive  the  joy  that  accompanies  it :  Kev,  ii.  17,  '  To  him  that 
overcometh  will  I  give  to  eat  of  the  hidden  manna  ;  and  will  give  him 
a  white  stone,  and  in  the  stone  a  name  written,  which  no  man 
knows  but  he  that  receives  it.'  It  makes  the  thoughts  of  God  sweeter, 
for  he  is  your  Father  ;  his  mercy,  for  it  is  your  portion.  His  justice  is 
not  your  terror,  but  support.  His  wrath  you  have  escaped ;  as  the 
Israelites  looked  back  on  the  Eed  Sea,  and  saw  their  enemies  drowned 
and  they  escaped.  His  world  of  creatures  are  for  your  use  and  service ; 
heaven  is  your  Father's  palace ;  Christ  is  your  Redeemer  and  Saviour  : 
the  word  is  your  charter  ;  ordinances  and  prayer  the  porch  of  heaven ; 
the  Lord's  supper  the  table  God  keepeth  for  his  children. 


And  ivhatsoever  we  ash,  we  7'eceive  of  him,  because  ice  keep  Ms  com- 
mandments, and  do  those  things  that  are  pleasing  in  his  sight. — 
1  John  iii.  22. 

In  the  context  the  apostle  is  speaking  of  the  benefit  of  a  good  con- 
science.    It  is  double — 

1.  Confidence  towards  God. 

2.  Acceptance  with  God  ;  or,  if  j^ou  will,  access  to  God,  and  success 
in  prayer.  Of  confidence  to  make  the  prayer  we  spake  in  the  former 
verse  ;  acceptance  of  it,  when  it  is  once  made,  of  this  in  the  text,  '  And 
whatsoever  we  ask,  we  receive  of  him,'  &c. 

In  the  words  there  are  two  things — 

1.  The  privilege  of  a  good  conscience,  *  Whatsoever  we  ask,  we 
receive  of  him.' 

2.  The  character  and  property  of  a  good  conscience,  '  Because  we 
keep  his  commandments,  and  do  the  things  that  are  pleasing  in  his 

1.  For  the  privilege;  and  here  note — 

[1.]  The  universality  and  extent  of  it,  '  Whatsoever  we  ask.' 
[2.J  The  certainty,  '  We  receive  ; '  not,  we  shall  receive  ;  we  are  as 
certain  to  receive  it  as  if  we  had  it  already. 

2.  The  character,  evidence,  and  property  of  a  good  conscience, 
'  Because  we  keep  his  commandments,  and  do  those  things  which  are 
pleasing  in  his  sight.'     This  is  fit  to  be  added,  because  he  had  only 

YeR.  22.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  193 

described  conscience  by  its  act  of  absolving  or  not  condemning.  Now 
lie  sliowetli  this  must  be  understood  of  conscience  rightly  proceeding. 
It  is  usually  and  truly  observed  that  there  is  a  fourfold  conscience — 

[1.]  Quiet  and  not  good:  Luke  xi.  21,  'When  the  strong  man 
keepeth  the  house,  all  that  he  possesseth  is  in  peace.'  There  must 
needs  be  a  calm  when  wind  and  tide  goeth  together. 

[2.]  Good  and  not  quiet ;  as  when  David  thought  he  was  utterly  cut 
off,  and  cast  out  of  God's  sight :  Ps.  xxii.  31,  '  I  said  in  my  heart,  I 
am  cut  off  from  before  thine  eyes  ;  nevertheless  thou  heardest  the  voice 
of  my  supplications.' 

[3.]  Such  as  is  neither  good  nor  quiet ;  such  was  Judas'  conscience  : 
Mat.  xxvii.  3,  4,  '  Judas  repented,  saying,  I  have  sinned  in  betraying 
innocent  blood.' 

[4.]  A  conscience  both  good  and  quiet.  It  is  good,  for  *  we  keep  his 
commandments,  and  do  the  things  which  are  pleasing  in  his  sight.' 
As  it  is  good,  so  it  is  also  quiet ;  for  in  the  former  verse  he  saith,  '  It 
condemneth  not.'  This  good  and  quiet  conscience  is  set  forth  by  two 
expressions,  one  relating  to  the  matter,  the  other  to  the  aim  of  oni- 

(1.)  The  matter,  '  Because  we  keep  his  commandments ; '  meaning 
both  moral  and  evangelical ;  faith  in  Christ,  and  love  to  God  and  man, 
as  he  explaineth  himself,  ver.  23 ;  and  this  done  evangelically,  by  the 
Spirit  of  Christ  and  love  of  God  :  1  John  ii.  5,  '  Whoso  keepeth  his 
word,  in  him  is  the  love  of  God  perfected.' 

(2.)  For  the  aim,  '  And  do  those  things  which  are  pleasing  in  his 
sight.'  Those  things  only  please  God  which  he  hath  commanded  ;  as 
you  please  a  man  when  you  do  what  is  according  to  his  will.  Now 
this  is  the  aim  of  the  sincere  heart,  to  please  God  in  all  things ;  and  if 
we  set  ourselves  to  do  so,  God  will  not  be  a  stranger  to  us  :  John  viii. 
29,  '  He  that  sent  me  is  with  me  ;  for  I  do  always  the  things  that 
please  him.' 

There  is  nothing  of  difficulty  remaineth,  but  only  the  connection 
Ijetween  the  two  clauses,  which  seemeth  to  be  causal,  '  Because  we  keep 
his  commandments,  and  do  the  things  which  are  pleasing  in  his  sight' 

Ans.  It  is  a  condition,  not  of  merit,  but  order.  By  obeying  him 
we  are  qualified  to  have  our  prayers  heard  by  him  ;  but  yet  not  for  our 
merit,  but  his  merciful  promise  to  hear  us  :  Dan.  ix.  18,  '  Not  for  our 
righteousness,  0  Lord,  but  for  thy  great  mercies.' 

Doct.  Such  as  make  conscience  of  obedience  may  obtain  of  God 
whatsoever,  in  reason  and  righteousness,  they  ask  of  him. 

I  shall  handle  the  point  in  this  method. 

1.  I  shall  show  you  in  what  large  terms  God  hath  invited  and  en- 
couraged us  to  prayer. 

2.  1  shall  state  the  case,  how  we  may  ask  so  as  to  be  sure  to  speed. 

3.  I  shall  speak  of  God's  answer,  and  the  success  of  our  prayers. 

I.  In  what  large  terms  God  hath  invited  and  encoui-aged  prayer. 
Here  in  the  text,  '  Whatsoever  we  ask  of  him  we  receive.' 

1.  In  some  places  there  are  indefinite  promises  of  audience  ;  as  Ps. 
1.  15,  '  Call  upon  me,  and  I  will  hear  thee.'  So  Job  xxii.  27,  '  Thou 
shalt  make  tliy  prayer  unto  God,  and  he  shall  hear  tiice;'  Ps.  xxxvii. 
14,  '  Delight  thyself  in  llie  Lord,  and  he  shall  grant  thee  the  desire  of 

VOL.  XXI.  N 


thy  heart ; '  and  Isa.  xlv.  19,  '  I  said  not  unto  the  house  of  Israel,  Seek 
ye  me  in  vain  ;'  Mat.  vii.  7,  8,  '  Ask,  and  it  shall  be  given  you  ;  seek, 
and  ye  shall  find  ;  knock,  and  it  shall  be  opened  unto  you  :  for  every 
one  that  asketh  receiveth  ;  and  he  that  seeketh  findeth ;  and  to  him  that 
knocketh  it  shall  be  opened.'  Now  though  these  places  do  not  tell  us  how 
much  God  will  grant,  or  how  far  he  will  hear  the  prayers  of  his  people, 
yet  they  show  us  that  it  is  not  labour  in  vain  to  seek  God ;  and  we  have 
all  the  encouragements  in  the  world  to  come  and  acquaint  him  with  all 
our  desires,  griefs,  fears,  wants,  and  requests  ;  for  what  cannot  God  do  ? 
and  what  will  not  prayer  do  with  a  good  God,  who  is  able  to  do  what 
he  pleaseth,  and  hath  promised  to  do  what  we  desire  ? 

2.  There  are  promises  that  have  universal  particles  annexed ;  as 
John  xiv.  13,  14,  '  Whatsoever  ye  shall  ask  the  Father  in  my  name, 
that  I  will  do,  that  the  Father  may  be  glorified  in  the  Son.  If  you  ask 
anything  in  my  name,  I  will  do  it.'  So  John  xv.  7,  '  If  ye  abide  in  me, 
and  my  words  abide  in  you,  you  shall  ask  what  you  will,  and  it  shall  be 
done  unto  you/  So  John  xv.  16,  '  Whatsoever  ye  shall  ask  the  Father 
in  my  name,  he  shall  give  it  you.'  The  same  is  repeated,  John  xvi, 
23,  *  Verily,  verily  I  say  unto  you,  whatsoever  ye  shall  ask  the  Father 
in  my  name,  he  will  give  it  you.'  And  many  more  such  expressions 
there  are  in  the  word  of  God.  Not  that  men  have  a  lawless  liberty 
allowed  them,  to  give  vent  to  all  their  desires,  how  unjust  and  unrea- 
sonable soever  they  be,  and  that  God's  power  shall  lackey  upon  their 
vain  fancies  and  appetites.  No ;  these  large  and  universal  offers  admit  of 
limitations  propounded  in  scripture,  which  must  be  regarded,  that  we 
may  not  make  promises  to  ourselves,  and  set  God  a  task  by  our  self-con- 
ceitedness  and  vain  fancies,  and  think  him  engaged  beyond  what  he  is 
pleased  to  bind  himself  unto.  And  the  use  of  these  universal  particles 
is  to  encourage  us  against  the  straits  and  diffidence  of  our  own  hearts  : 
though  we  ask  things  so  great  for  their  worth,  difficult  to  compass,  and 
which  we  are  so  unworthy  to  receive,  yet  none  of  these  things  should 
discourage  us,  and  straiten  our  expectations,  that  when  we  come  to  God, 
if  our  requests  be  just  and  equal,  he  will  grant  them  for  Christ's  sake. 

II.  To  state  the  case ;  how  must  we  ask,  that  we  may  be  sure  to 
speed  ? 

1.  The  first  thing  to  be  observed  is  the  qualification  of  the  person  ;  for 
unless  you  put  yourselves  into  a  receiving  posture,  according  to  the 
terms  of  the  promise,  you  cannot  expect  to  speed.  Now  none  are  in 
a  receiving  posture  but  such  as  are  in  grace  and  favour  with  God,  such 
as  are  justified  and  sanctified,  and  live  in  obedience  to  him :  Prov.  xv. 
8,  '  The  sacrifice  of  the  wicked  is  an  abomination  to  the  Lord  ;  but  the 
prayer  of  the  upright  is  his  delight; '  John  ix.  31,  '  God  heareth  not 
sinners  ;  but  if  any  be  a  worshipper  of  God,  and  doeth  his  will,  him  he 
heareth  ; '  James  v.  16,  '  The  fervent  effectual  prayer  of  a  righteous 
man  availeth  much  ; '  Ps.  Ixvi.  18,  '  If  I  regard  iniquity  in  my  heart, 
God  will  not  hear  me.'  These  and  many  other  places  show  that  if  we 
would  have  our  prayers  heard  and  accepted  with  God,  we  must  be 
righteous,  not  live  in  the  open  practice  of  any  known  sin,  nor  secretly 
foster  it  in  our  hearts.  And  therefore  though  prayer  should  be  maed 
with  the  greatest  earnestness  and  confidence,  yet  if  the  consciences  of 
men  reprove  them  of  any  looseness  and  lightness  of  spirit,  that  they 

VeR.  22.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  II  f.  195 

have  served  God  by  halves,  and  are  off  and  on  with  hini  in  their  prac- 
tice, if  they  be  not  heard  in  the  evil  day,  they  cannot  challenge  God  for 
breach  of  promise,  but  themselves  of  neglect  of  duty  ;  for  if  they  will 
not  hear  God,  why  should  God  hear  them  ?  This  reason  is  given,  Prov. 
XX.  9,  '  He  that  turneth  away  his  ear  from  hearing  the  law,  even  his 
prayer  is  an  abomination.'  Not  only  his  vile  practices,  but  his  prayers. 
Therefore,  if  you  would  have  God's  ear,  obey  him  and  hearken  to  his 
voice  ;  and  then  for  the  asking  you  may  obtain  anything  which  a  good 
conscience  will  permit  you  to  ask  of  him  ;  and  upon  other  terms  you 
must  not  deal  with  God.  Keep  close  to  God's  will,  and  he  will  give 
you  your  will.  Surely  it  is  a  profitable  thing  to  obey  God.  Do  you 
do  that  which  God  requireth  of  you,  and  God  will  do  that  which  you 
ask  of  him, 

2.  The  next  thing  to  be  regarded  is  the  matter  of  our  prayers  and 
requests,  and  there  we  have  the  limitation  :  1  John  v.  14,  15,  'And 
this  is  the  confidence  that  we  have  in  him,  that,  if  we  ask  anything 
according  to  his  will,  he  heareth  us.  And  if  we  know  that  he  hear  us, 
whatsoever  we  ask,  we  know  that  we  have  the  petitions  that  we  desired 
of  him.'  All  the  business  is,  what  is  the  meaning  of  that,  '  According 
to  his  will  ?  ' 

[1.]  With  conformity  to  his  revealed  will. 

[2.]  With  due  submission  and  reservation  of  his  secret  will. 

[1.]  Surely  with  conformity  to  his  revealed  and  commanding  will, 
that  we  ask  nothing  that  is  sinful  or  unjust ;  as  if  we  would  seek  to 
entice  God  to  our  lure,  and  to  avenge  our  quarrels ;  as  Balaam  built 
altars  and  offered  sacrifices  to  draw  God  to  curse  his  people ;  or  when 
we  would  have  God  to  bless  us  in  some  unlawful  undertaking  or  pur- 
pose, or  are  biassed  by  envy,  revenge,  or  any  corrupt  and  carnal  affection, 
and  to  ask  things  contrary  to  charity,  or  that  meek  spirit  that  should 
be  in  christians.  Unlawful  desires  put  into  prayer  are  a  double  evil, 
as  contrary  to  God's  law,  and  as  presented  in  prayer.  The  wills  of 
God's  children  are  limited  by  his  word  and  will.  The  Spirit  in  them 
maketh  intercession  according  to  the  will  of  God,  Eom.  viii.  27. 
When  we  mingle  our  lusts  with  our  prayers,  we  make  this  pure 
stream  muddy,  and  would  put  dross  into  Christ's  golden  censer, 
as  if  he  should  mediate  that  our  lusts  should  be  fulfilled,  and  sins 

[2.]  With  a  due  reservation  of  and  submission  to  his  secret  and 
decreeing  will.  Many  things  are  lawful,  yea,  commanded,  yet  we  must  them  with  submission  to  the  will  of  God ;  that  is,  we  must  use  the 
means,  and  refer  the  success  to  God.  As,  for  instance,  when  parents 
ask  the  conversion  of  their  children,  and  children  the  lives  of  their 
parents  ;  but  God  disposeth  of  the  event  as  it  pleaseth  him.  Again, 
many  things  may  be  good  in  themselves,  but  are  not  good  for  us  ;  as 
Moses  desired  to  enter  into  the  land  of  Canaan,  which  God  saw  not 
good  for  him.  So  thou  art  sick,  and  wouldst  fain  have  thy  life  pro- 
longed, and  therefore  in  the  bitterness  of  thy  heart  makest  thy  moan 
to  God,  as  Hezekiah  did ;  it  may  be  the  Lord  will  take  thee  from  the 
evil  to  come,  and  translate  thee  to  glory,  which  is  much  better  for  thee ; 
as  David  fasted  and  prayed  for  the  life  of  the  child :  2  Sara.  xii.  22. 
'  Who  can  tell  whether  the  Lord  will  be  gracious  to  me,  that  the  child 


may  live  ? '  In  this  reservation  of  God's  will  we  have  two  exceptions — 
if  it  be  for  God's  glory  and  onr  good. 

(1.)  God's  glory  :  »John  xiv.  13,  '  Whatever  ye  ask  the  Father  in  my 
name,  I  will  do  it,  that  the  Father  may  be  glorified  in  the  Son.' 
Whatever  belongeth  to  our  duty  we  must  do ;  but  for  the  event,  how 
he  will  be  glorified,  we  must  submit  it  to  God. 

(2.)  For  our  good.  Grace  layeth  this  restraint  upon  the  will  of  a 
renewed  man,  but  of  this  good,  God  will  be  judge,  and  not  we.  It  may 
be  good  for  us  to  be  afflicted,  Ps.  cxix.  71.  Temporal  things  being  but 
accessary  to  our  happiness,  and  belonging  to  our  comfortable  condition 
in  the  world,  but  not  of  absolute  necessity  to  our  salvation,  should  not 
be  peremptorily  asked,  but  in  submission  and  limitation  of  God's  will : 
Mat.  xxvi.  39,  'Yet  not  my  will,  but  thine  be  done  ;'  so  far  as  God 
seeth  them  good  for  us.  The  short  is,  that  in  things  necessary  to  sal- 
vation, we  shall  not  be  refused ;  in  other  things,  we  should  not  ask  of 
God  anything  that  agreeth  not  with  his  will,  or  is  against  his  glory,  or 
may  be  hurtful  to  ourselves.  Till  we  learn  to  acquiesce  in  the  will 
of  God,  and  seek  the  most  necessary  things  of  God,  we  do  not  pray 

3.  The  next  limitation  is  as  to  the  manner. 

[1.]  Fervently,  and  with  that  life  and  seriousness  which  such  requests 
call  for :  Mat.  vii.  7,  '  Ask,  seek,  knock.'  Prayer  is  not  answered  if  the 
spirit  of  prayer  be  wanting,  or  those  lively  affections  which  are  necessary 
to  constitute  a  prayer :  James  v.  16,  'The  effectual  fervent  prayer  of 
a  righteous  man  availeth  much.'  Afterwards  he  instanceth  in  Elias, 
ver.  17.  If  a  cold  prayer  meets  with  a  denial,  we  have  no  cause  to 
complain.  The  ardency  of  holy  desires  is  wanting;  we  are  not  in 
earnest,  which  is  the  soul  of  prayer,  though  the  form  and  fashion  of  it 
be  kept  up  :  Dan.  ix.  3,  '  I  set  myself  to  seek  the  Lord ; '  Jer.  xxix. 
12,  13,  'And  ye  shall  seek  me,  and  find  me,  when  ye  shall  search  for 
me  with  all  your  hearts.'  When  God  hath  a  mind  to  work,  he  sets 
the  spirit  of  prayer  a-work. 

[2.]  Christ  hath  put  faith  among  the  conditions  required  to  prayer  : 
Mat.  xxi.  22,  'All  things  that  ye  ask  in  prayer,  believing,  ye  shall 
receive ; '  or,  as  it  is  in  Mark  xi.  24,  '  What  things  soever  ye  desire, 
when  ye  pray,  believe  that  ye  receive  them,  and  ye  shall  have  them.' 
There  must  be  a  confidence  of  that  power  that  we  would  set  a-work, 
and  of  God's  will  and  goodness  to  pity  and  relieve  us.  As  things  are 
tendered  to  us  in  the  promise,  so  are  we  bound  to  believe  and  pray  for 
them,  and  no  otherwise ;  for  the  word  of  promise  is  the  measure,  ground, 
and  foundation  of  prayer.  And  as  to  the  promise  of  temporal  things, 
it  is  either  personal  or  common.  Personal ;  so  God  absolutely  promised 
to  some  of  his  servants  to  give  them  temporal  blessings,  so  absolutely 
to  be  believed  and  prayed  for.  So  he  promised  to  Abraham  to  multiply 
his  seed  as  the  sand  on  the  seashore,  Gen.  xxii.  17 ;  and  this  promise 
Abraham  was  to  believe  with  an  absolute  faith,  whatever  difficulties 
there  were  to  the  contrary,  Kom.  iv.  18-21.  God  promised  David  the 
kingdom,  and  anointed  him  by  Samuel,  but  for  a  long  time  he  was  kept 
in  a  private  and  perplexed  condition,  yet  bound  to  be  confident.  So 
God  promised  Paul  the  life  of  all  that  were  with  him  in  the  ship,  Acts 
xxvii.  25,  therefore  in  the  greatest  difficulties  he  encouraged  bis  com- 

VeR.  22.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  197 

pauions:  'Wherefore,  sirs,  be  of  good  cheer;  for  I  believe  God,  that 
it  shall  be  even  as  it  was  told  me/  But  the  commoa  promise  of  the 
blessings  of  this  life  is  not  absolute,  but  shall  be  dispensed  to  us  as  it 
shall  be  for  God's  glory  and  our  good,  and  therefore  are  not  to  be 
absolutely  asked  nor  absolutely  expected  from  God.  >So  the  saints 
express  themselves  about  these  things:  Joel  ii.  14,  'Who  knoweth  it 
he  will  return  and  repent,  and  leave  a  blessing  behind  him,  even  a 
meat-offering  and  a  drink-offering  unto  the  Lord  ?  '  God  will  hold  us 
in  suspense  about  these  things,  and  try  our  godliness  and  submissiou. 
But  yet  though  there  be  uncertainty  about  particular  blessings,  we 
must  always  pray  in  faith.  It  is  one  thing  to  believe  for  certain  that 
God  will  grant  our  petition  with  this  condition,  if  the  grant  be  for  his 
glory  and  our  good,  and  another  thing  to  believe  absolutely  that  he 
will  not  deny  the  particular  thing  we  ask  of  him,  without  such  excep- 
tion and  reservation.  Of  the  former,  we  must  be  persuaded  in  all  our 
petitions  ;  of  the  latter,  we  cannot  be  confident ;  there  we  can  only  say, 
AVho  knoweth  but  that  God  may  do  it  for  us  ?  for  it  is  not  for  us  to 
determine  what  is  most  conducing  to  the  glory  of  God,  or  profitable 
for  us;  all  must  be  left  to  our  heavenly  Father,  upon  whose  good 
pleasure  all  our  happiness  dependeth.  We  must  be  persuaded  of  his 
all-sufficiency,  refer  it  to  his  goodness,  as  not  to  be  troubled  about  it. 

[3.]  To  the  manner  the  end  also  belongeth,  that  the  prayer  be 
directed  to  his  glory  :  James  iv,  3,  '  Ye  ask  and  receive  not,  because  ye 
ask  amiss,  that  ye  may  consume  it  upon  your  lusts.' 

III.  I  shall  speak  of  God's  answer,  and  the  success  of  our  prayers  ; 
and  there  are  several  distinctions  and  considerations. 

1,  Sometimes  God  giveth  an  answer  presently,  at  other  times  after 
some  competent  space  of  time  ;  as  Cornelius  at  the  time  of  prayer, 
Acts  X.  3,  and  while  the  duty  is  a-doing,  an  angel  was  sent  to  him  at 
the  ninth  hour  to  assure  him  his  prayers  were  heard.  The  ninth  hour 
was  the  usual  time  of  piayer :  Acts  iii.  1,  '  Now  Peter  and  John  went 
up  to  pray  at  the  ninth  hour.'  So  Daniel,  chap.  ix.  20,  21,  '  And  while 
I  was  speaking  and  praying  and  confessing  my  sin,  yea,  whilst  I  was 
speaking  in  prayer, even  the  man  Gabriel,  whom  I  had  seen  in  the  vision 
at  the  beginning,  being  caused  to  By  swiftly,  touched  me  about  the  time 
of  the  evening  oblation.'  The  Lord  is  ready  to  answer  the  prayers  of 
his  servants  in  the  very  instant  of  praying.  So  Acts  iv.  31,  'While 
they  prayed  they  were  filled  with  the  Holy  Ghost.'  The  cases  were 
singular  and  extraordinary  as  to  the  token  and  manner  of  assurance  ; 
but  as  to  the  substance  of  the  blessing,  it  is  the  common  practice  of 
God's  free  grace :  Isa.  Iviii.  10,  '  When  they  call,  I  will  answer ;  when 
they  pray,  I  will  say,  Here  am  I ; '  Isa.  Ixv.  24,  '  While  they  are  speak- 
ing, I  will  hear.'  The  company  that  was  met  to  pray  while  Peter  was 
in  prison  were  heard  at  the  time,  Acts  xii.  12,  13  ;  God  sent  Peter  to 

2.  Sometimes  a  good  while  after.  The  prayers  are  upon  record  in 
God's  book  :  Mai.  iii.  16,  'A  book  of  remembrance  was  written  before 
liim.'  This  God  doth  to  exercise  our  faith,  to  believe  what  we  see  not. 
Nay,  God  will  hear  them,  though  they  know  not  the  way  how  nor  time 
when  :  Micah  vii.  7,  '  Therefore  I  will  look  unto  the  Lord,  I  will  wait 
for  the  God  of  my  salvation,  my  God  will  hear  me.'     And  to  try  our 

198  SEilMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXVIII. 

patience ;  for  he  saith,  '  I  will  wait  for  the  God  of  my  salvation.' 
Though  he  doth  not  grant  as  soon  as  the  prayer  is  made,  yet  we  must 
believe  what  we  see  not,  and  wait  for  what  we  have  not.  Paul  prayed 
thrice,  2  Cor.  xii.  8.  God  taketh  his  own  time  for  despatch.  Abraham 
prayed  for  a  child,  but  many  years  he  goeth  childless. 

2dly.  Consider  the  several  ways  how  God  giveth  answer  to  his  people's 

1.  Extraordinarily  ;  so  in  ancient  time,  as  an  angel  was  sent  to  Cor- 
nelius, to  Daniel,  to  Abel  by  fire,  Heb.  xi.  4,  to  Abraham  by  vision,  to 
Saul  by  oracle. 

2.  Ordinarily,  and  so  several  ways. 

[1.]  By  granting  the  mercy  prayed  for ;  as  to  Hannah  :  1  Sam.  i.  27, 
'  For  this  child  I  prayed,  and  the  Lord  hath  given  me  the  petition  that 

1  asked  of  him.'  So  to  David :  Ps.  xxi,  2,  '  Thou  hast  given  him  his 
heart's  desire,  and  hast  not  withheld  the  requests  of  his  lips.'  So  often 
to  his  people,  when  they  have  humbly  sought  to  him,  he  giveth  them 
the  very  blessing  they  ask. 

[2.]  By  giving  in  spiritual  manifestations  of  his  grace  to  the  soul, 
though  he  doth  not  give  the  particular  mercy  prayed  for ;  as  when 
upon  prayer  he  reviveth  the  soul  of  him  that  prayeth  :  Job  xxxiii.  26, 
'  He  shall  pray  unto  God,  and  he  will  be  favourable  unto  him,  and  he 
shall  see  his  face  with  joy ; '  Ps.  cxxxviii.  3,  *  In  the  day  when  I  cried 
unto  thee,  thou  answeredst  me,  and  didst  strengthen  me  with  strength 
in  my  soul.'  Comfort  is  an  answer;  support  is  an  answer:  such  an 
answer  had  Paul,  when  God  told  him  his  '  grace  was  sufficient  for  him,' 

2  Cor.  xii.  9  ;  when  the  heart  is  quieted,  though  we  do  not  know  what 
God  will  do  with  our  requests.  Hannah,  when  she  had  prayed,  her 
heart  was  no  more  sad,  1  Sam.  i.  18. 

[3.]  Sometimes  by  way  of  commutation  and  exchange.  So  God  doth 
answer  the  prayer  though  he  doth  not  give  the  mercy  prayed  for,  when 
he  giveth  another  thing  that  is  as  good  or  better  for  the  party  that 
prayeth  ;  though  not  in  kind,  yet  the  same  in  weight  and  value.  This 
commutation  may  be  three  ways — 

(1.)  In  regard  of  the  persons.  David  fasteth  and  prayeth,  and 
humbleth  his  soul  for  his  persecutors,  Ps.  xxxv.  13,  but  it  returned 
into  his  own  bosom,  that  is,  it  was  converted  to  his  own  benefit.  His 
fasting  had  no  effect  upon  them,  but  his  charity  did  not  lose  its  reward. 
David  prayeth  for  his  first  child  by  Bathsheba,  but  God  giveth  him 
Solomon  instead  thereof,  2  Sam.  xii.  15.  In  that  supposition,  'Noah, 
Daniel,  and  Job  shall  save  their  own  souls,'  Ezek.  xiv.  18.  They  that 
wished  peace  to  a  house,  '  if  the  house  was  not  worthy,  their  peace  re- 
turned to  them,'  Luke  x.  5,  6.  They  should  have  the  comfort  of  dis- 
charging their  duty. 

(2.)  In  regard  of  the  matter.  Carnal  things  are  begged,  spiritual 
given  ;  not  a  pompous  kingdom  to  Israel,  but  the  promise  of  the  Spirit, 
Acts  i.  6,  7.  Moses  would  fain  enter  into  Canaan,  but  God  saith, 
Deut.  iii.  27,  'Let  it  suffice  thee;  speak  to  me  no  more  of  this 
matter  ; '  would  fainMiave  a  Pisgah  sight,  and  be  eased  of  the  trouble 
of  the  wars.  We  would  have  a  speedy  riddance  of  troubles,  but  God 
thinketh  it  not  fit;  they  go  off  by  degrees.  Showers  that  come  by 
drops  soak  into  the  earth  better  than  those  that  come  by  a  tempest  or 

1  Qu.  omit  '  would  fain  '  ? — Ed. 

VeR.  22.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  TIL  199 

Imrricane.  "We  ask  for  deliverance  from  troubles,  and  God  will  give 
courage  in  troubles :  Lam.  iii.  55-57,  *  I  called  upon  thy  name,  0 
Lord,  out  of  the  low  dungeon.  Thou  hast  heard  my  voice  ;  hide  not 
thine  ear  at  my  breathing,  at  my  cry.  Thou  drewest  near  in  the  day 
I  called  upon  thee  :  thou  saidst,  Fear  not.'  His  gracious  and  powerful 
presence  in  trouble  was  enough.  Christ  himself  '  was  heard  in  that  he 
feared,'  Heb.  v,  7 ;  not  saved  from  that  hour,  but  supported  and 
strengthened  in  it.  Job  prayed,  sacrificed  for  his  children  when  they 
were  feasting,  Job  i.  5.  God  gave  him  patience,  that  he  charged  not 
God  foolishly  when  they  were  destroyed,  ver.  20. 

(3.)  In  regard  of  means.  We  pray  such  means  may  not  miscarry  ; 
God  will  use  other  ;  as  Abraham  would  fain  have  Ishmael  the  child  of 
promise,  but  the  Lord  intended  Isaac  :  '  Oh,  that  Ishmael  might  live 
before  thee  ! '  Gen.  xvii.  18.  God  may  give  us  our  will  in  anger,  when 
the  thing  begged  turneth  to  our  hurt.  Therefore  the  way  or  kind  of 
God's  answer  must  be  referied  to  his  own  will  in  all  things,  for  which 
we  are  not  to  pray  absolutely.  And  when  we  have  discharged  our 
duty,  and  endeavoured  to  approve  our  hearts  to  God,  take  what  answer 
he  will  give. 

Use  1.  To  show  us  with  what  confidence  we  must  pray.  You  must 
be  persuaded  that  God  will  hear  you  according  to  your  will  or  need, 
when  you  ask  things  agreeable  to  his  will,  and  fit  for  you  to  receive  in 
your  station,  and  with  a  due  subordination  to  his  glory  and  the 
interest  of  his  kingdom ;  upon  other  terms  you  should  not  ask  any- 
thing of  God.  To  support  you,  that  you  shall  have  what  you  ask, 
there  are  three  things — (1.)  God's  nature ;  (2.)  Christ's  merits ;  (3.) 
The  promises  of  the  gospel. 

1.  God's  nature.  We  conceive  of  God  as  wise,  and  powerful,  and 
good :  all  encourage  prayer.  God's  wisdom  and  providence  :  Mat.  vi. 
8,  '  Your  Father  knoweth  what  things  you  have  need  of  before  you  ask 
him.'  His  almighty  power  :  Eph.  iii.  20,  '  He  is  able  to  do  beyond 
what  we  can  ask  or  think;'  Mark  xiv.  36,  'Abba,  Father,  all  things 
are  possible  unto  thee.'  With  these  thoughts  should  we  come  into  God's 
presence.  And  lastly,  his  goodness  and  love ;  that  must  not  be  left 
out :  John  xvi.  27,  *  The  Father  himself  loveth  you,  because  ye  have " 
loved  me,  and  believed  that  I  came  out  from  God.'  Christ's  intercession 
made  way  for  us,  but  the  Father's  love  prevented  that.  We  have  wrong 
thoughts  of  God  if  we  do  not  think  of  his  self-inclination  to  do  good. 
His  readiness  to  hear  and  forgive  doth  encourage  poor  creatures  to  come 
to  him.  All  these  things  make  him  a  God  hearing  prayer.  And  to 
encourage  poor  suppliants — 

2.  There  is  the  merits  and  mediation  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ : 
Heb.  xii.  2,  '  Looking  unto  Jesus,  the  author  and  finisher  of  our  faith, 
who,  for  the  joy  that  was  set  before  him,  endured  the  cross,  despised 
the  shame,  and  is  sat  down  at  the  right  hand  of  God  ; '  Rom.  viii.  3, 
'  God  sending  his  own  Son  in  the  likeness  of  sinful  flesh,  and  for  sin, 
condenmed  sin  in  the  flesh  ; '  Heb.  ix.  24,  '  For  Christ  is  not  entered 
into  the  holy  place  made  with  hands,  which  are  the  figures  of  the  true, 
but  into  heaven  itself,  now  to  appear  in  the  presence  of  God  for  us.' 
We  have  a  friend  in  court,  who  will  join  with  us  in  the  requests  we 
make  to  God,  whose  intercession  answureth  to  the  motions  of  his  Spirit 
in  our  hearts. 


3.  There  are  the  gracious  promises  of  the  gospel,  by  which  all 
necessary  things  are  secured  to  us.  And  though  the  dispensation  of 
particular  blessings  are  reserved  to  God's  good  pleasure,  yet  there  are 
certaiu  general  promises  which  concern  us  for  the  present,  of  which  we 
mny  be  confident ;  as  that  God  will  never  utterly  fail  his  people  :  Heb. 
xiii.  5,  '  He  hath  said,  I  will  never  leave  thee  nor  forsake  thee  ; '  that 
he  will  dispose  of  all  things  for  the  best  to  them  that  love  God,  Kom. 
viii.  28  ;  that  he  will  not  leave  us  to  insupportable  difficulties,  1  Cor. 
X.  13.     This  should  satisfy  us. 

Use  2.  It  teacheth  us  that  we  should  look  after  the  answers  of 
prayer.  Certainly  a  man  that  is  serious  and  sincere  in  prayer  will  be 
earnest  for  an  answer  :  Ps.  Ixxxv.  8,  '  I  will  hear  what  the  Lord  will 
speak.'  A  gracious  heart  dareth  not  take  God's  name  in  vain,  nor  make 
prayer  a  vain  babbling  or  empty  prattle,  but  will  be  listening  and 
hearkening  after  news  from  heaven  :  Ps.  v.  3, '  I  will  pray  and  look  up.' 
Watch  to  see  what  cometh.  Foolish  boys,  that  knock  at  a  door  in 
wantonness,  will  not  stay  till  somebody  cometh  to  open  to  them ;  but 
a  man  that  hath  business  will  knock,  and  knock  again,  till  he  gets  his 
answer.  To  people  that  consider  not  what  they  do,  whose  prayers  are 
the  sacrifices  of  fools,  they  throw  away  their  prayers,  and  never  look  after 
them,  what  cometh  of  it  ?  but  they  that  are  in  earnest,  and  are  per- 
suaded God  heareth  them,  will  wait  for  an  answer.  We  should  the 
rather  do  this — 

1.  Because  answers  of  prayer  are  notable  confirmations  of  faith 
concerning  the  truth  of  God's  being  and  promises:  Ps.  Ixv.  2, '  Oh,  thou 
that  hearest  prayer,  unto  thee  shall  all  flesh  come ; '  Ps.  xviii.  30,  '  The 
word  of  the  Lord  is  a  tried  word;  he  is  a  buckler  to  all  that  trust  in 
liim;'  Ps.  cxxxviii.  2,  *  Thou  hast  magnified  thy  word  above  all  thy 
name.'  They  see  this  is  the  God  to  be  prayed  unto,  these  promises  to 
be  trusted  in  ;  that  this  God  will  not  fail  those  that  seek  him,  and 
depend  upon  him.  Now  we  should  seek  confirmation  from  experience, 
as  a  rebuke  and  check  to  that  atheism  that  still  remaineth  in  us. 

2.  Excitements  to  love  and  obedience.  Nothing  inci-easeth  our 
love  to  God  as  to  see  he  is  mindful  of  us  upon  all  occasions,  especially 
in  our  deep  necessities:  Ps.  cxvi.  1, '  I  will  love  the  Lord,  for  he  hath 
heard  the  voice  of  my  supplications.'  Every  answer  of  prayer  is  a 
special  instance  of  God's  love  to  us,  and  so  it  begets  love  to  God  again ; 
it  is  as  new  fuel  to  increase  the  fire. 

3.  Encouragements  to  pray  again :  Ps.  cxvi.  2,  '  Because  he  hath 
inclined  his  ear  unto  me,  therefore  will  I  call  upon  him  as  long  as  I 
live.'  The  throne  of  grace  will  not  be  neglected  by  them  that  have 
found  good  success  there  ;  they  see  there  is  mercy  and  help  to  be  found. 
As  one  adventure  in  point  of  traffic  succeeding  well  encourageth 
another,  so  is  the  success  of  duty  :  Ps.  xxxii.  6,  '  For  this  shall  every- 
one that  is  godly  pray  unto  thee  in  a  time  when  thou  mayest  be  found.' 
From  David's  ready  audience  and  despatch. 

4.  God  will  lose  much  honour,  praise,  and  thanksgiving,  if  we  do 
not  regard  his  answers  :  Ps.  1. 15,  '  Call  upon  me  in  the  day  of  trouble, 
and  I  will  deliver  thee,  and  thou  slialt  glorify  me  ; '  Col.  iv.  2,  '  Con- 
tinue in  prayer,  and  watch  in  the  same  with  thanksgiving.'  We  are  to 
gather  matter  of  praise  to  God ;  as  the  intercourse  between  heaven  and 

VeR.  22.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  201 

earth  is  maintained  by  vapours  and  showers,  so  is  commerce  between 
God  and  us  carried  on  by  donatives  and  duties,  by  holy  prayers  and 
God's  gracious  answers. 


Because  we  keep  his  commandments,  and  do  those  things  ivhich  are 
pleasing  in  his  sight. — 1  John  iii.  22. 

I  COME  now  to  the  second  thing,  the  character  and  property  of  a  good 
conscience.  Here  are  two  expressions,  one  relating  to  the  matter  of 
our  obedience,  the  other  to  the  end. 

1.  The  matter,  '  Because  we  keep  his  commandments.' 

2.  The  end  and  aim,  'And  do  those  things  which  are  pleasing  in  his 

Doct.  That  those  have  a  gospel  good  conscience  who  keep  God's 
commandments,  and  do  the  things  which  are  pleasing  in  his  sight. 
Here  I  shall  inquire — 

1.  What  it  is  to  keep  God's  commandments,  and  do  the  things  that 
are  pleasing  in  his  sight. 

2.  How  this  is  a  gospel  conscience ;  what  could  the  law  require 

3.  How  this  doth  constitute  a  good  and  quiet  conscience,  free  us 
from  fears  of  being  rejected,  and  give  us  hopes  of  being  accepted  with 

I.  What  it  is.  The  first  expression  is  to  keep  the  commandments 
of  God.     Here  we  must  open  two  things — 

(1.)  Commandments;  (2.)  Keep;  the  object,  and  the  act. 

First,  The  commandments  that  must  be  kept;  and  they  are  of  several 

1.  Moral  and  evangelical ;  so  it  is  explained  in  the  next  verse,  '  And 
this  is  his  commandment,  that  we  should  believe  in  the  name  of  his 
Son  Jesus  Christ,  and  love  one  another,  as  he  gave  us  commandment.' 
Love  is  our  primitive  holiness,  faith  belongeth  to  our  recovery.  Not 
only  the  moral  law  is  the  rule  of  our  duty,  but  the  gospel  also ;  faith 
is  commanded  :  John  vi.  29,  '  This  is  the  work  of  God,  that  ye  believe 
on  him  whom  he  hath  sent.'  Sin  is  not  our  work  at  all ;  the  affairs  of 
the  world  are  our  bywork.  Particular  duties  are  subordinate  to  the 
great  duty  of  the  gospel,  not  our  main  work,  nor  must  be  gone  about. 
So  repentance  is  commanded:  Acts  xvii.  30,  '  He  hath  commanded  all 
men  everywhere  to  repent.'  At  your  peril  will  it  be  if  you  refuse  this 
grace.  Gospel  obedience  falleth  under  a  command  ;  it  is  not  an  indif- 
ferent thing,  whether  we  will  accept  the  remedy,  yea  or  no.  Moral 
duties  are  evident  by  natural  light.  Remedial  and  gospel  duties  de- 
pend upon  a  positive  institution,  though  highly  reconcilable  to  natural 

2.  First-table  and  second-table  duties;  as  faith  in  Jesus  Christ,  and 

202  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XX. 

love  to  one  another.  We  must  make  conscience  of  all  duties  we  owe 
to  God  and  men  :  Acts  xxiv.  16,  '  Hei-ein  do  I  exercise  myself,  to  have 
a  conscience  void  of  offence  towards  God  and  towards  men.'  There  is 
a  first  table  and  a  second ;  some  are  very  punctual  in  dealing  with  men, 
but  neglectful  of  God.  But  both  tables  are  owned  from  heaven,  Rom. 
i.  18.  Some  will  not  wrong  men  of  a  farthing,  but  stick  not  to  rob 
God  of  all  that  fear,  love,  trust,  delight,  which  is  due  to  him.  _  They 
will  not  defile  their  bodies  with  open  uncleanness,  but  commit  it  in 
their  hearts  ;  they  condemn  the  rebellion  of  Absalom,  yet  disobey  their 
heavenly  Father.  No  murderers,  but  strike  at  the  being  of  God  ;  are 
tender  of  men's  good  name  and  reputations,  but  dishonour  and  take  the 
name  of  God  in  vain.  Others  are  much  in  worship,  but  unconscionable 
in  their  dealings  with  men ;  will  not  swear  an  oath,  but  are  very 
uncharitable,  censuring  their  brethren  without  pity  and  remorse.  This 
is  the  fashion  of  the  world,  to  be  in  with  one  duty  and  out  with 
another.  The  commandments  are  introduced  by  this  preface,  '  God 
spake  all  these  words,'  Exod.  xx.  1.  He  that  hath  enjoined  the  one 
hath  enjoined  the  other ;  but  as  the  echo  rendereth  but  part  of  the 
speech,  so  do  we  in  our  returns  of  obedience.  God  spake  all,  and  we 
return  but  a  part. 

3.  Smaller  as  well  as  greater  duties:  Mat.  v.  19,  'Whosoever  shall 
break  the  least  of  these  commandments,  and  teach  men  so  to  do,  shall 
be  least  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven.'  God  counteth  his  authority  de- 
spised, and  the  commandments  and  obligatory  power  of  his  law  to  bo 
made  void  by  him  that  shall  either  in  doctrine  or  practice  count  any 
transgression  of  his  law  so  light  and  venial  as  not  to  be  stood  upon,  or 
iis  if  it  were  a  trifle  to  be  so  nice  and  exact  as  not  to  make  conscience 
(A  petty  things,  such  as  vain  thoughts,  light  words,  or  passionate 
speeches.  Deceit  of  heart  is  found  on  both  sides.  Some  are  apt  to  say, 
'  It  is  but  a  little  one,  and  my  soul  shall  live,'  as  Lot  of  Zoar.  No  sin  is 
little  that  is  committed  against  the  great  God  ;  and  it  argueth  the  more 
wickedness  to  break  with  God  upon  every  trifling  occasion.  A  little 
force  will  make  a  heavy  body  move  downward,  because  it  is  its  natural 
motion.  Others  are  apt  to  stand  much  upon  lesser  things.  John  xviii. 
28,  the  Jews  would  not  enter  into  the  judgment-hall  lest  they  should 
be  defiled,  yet  at  that  very  time  they  sought  the  life  of  the  Lord  of 
glory.  Hypocrites  make  a  great  business  about  small  matters,  wherein 
the  flesh  and  self  have  some  special  interest,  when  the  weighty  common 
duties  are  little  valued,  relished,  or  insisted  on ;  by-matters,  and  the 
more  uncertain  points  which  self  hath  espoused,  are  contended  for  with 
all  zeal  and  earnestness  :  Mat.  xxiii.  23, '  They  reject  the  weighty  tilings 
of  the  law,  such  as  faith  and  love ;  judgment  and  mercy  are  omitted, 
while  they  tithe  mint,  anise,  and  cummin  ;  like  one  that  cometli  into 
a  shop  to  buy  a  pennyworth,  and  stealeth  a  pound's  worth,  or  pays  a 
small  debt,  that  he  may  run  deeper  into  the  creditor's  books,  and  so 
deceive  him  of  a  greater  sum. 

4.  Commandments  that  require  public  and  private  duties;  to  fail  in 
either  consists  not  with  sincerity.  In  times  of  trouble  many  content 
themselves  if  their  hearts  be  right:  2  Cor.  vii:  1,  'Cleanse  yourselves 
from  all  filthiuess  both  of  flesh  and  spirit.'  The  libertines  in  Corinth 
did  so.      It  is  no  matter  whether  they  own  God  publicly,  or,  if  they 

VeR.  22.]  SERMON'S  UPON  1  JOHN  IIL  203 

will,  yet,  to  gratify  their  neighbours,  go  to  an  idol-feast ;  as  if  a  wife 
should  prostitute  her  body,  and  pretend  that  she  keepeth  her  heart 
loyal  to  her  husband.  Others  make  a  fair  show  to  the  world,  but  in 
their  family  converse  are  loose  and  careless.  David  saith,  Ps.  ci.  2,  '  I 
will  walk  in  my  house  with  a  perfect  heart.'  If  a  man  be  truly  holy, 
he  will  show  it  at  home  as  well  as  abroad,  in  his  family  where  his  con- 
stant converse  is ;  yea,  in  his  closet  and  secret  retirements.  A  chris- 
tian is  alike  everywhere,  because  God  is  alike  everywhere.  We  strain 
ourselves  to  make  our  best  appearance  in  public,  God  will  be  served 
with  our  uttermost  in  private  also. 

5,  There  are  commands  concerning  the  government  both  of  the  in- 
ward and  outward  man.  We  must  make  conscience  of  both,  or  else 
our  conscience  is  not  a  good  conscience :  Isa.  Iv.  7, '  Let  the  sinner 
forsake  his  way,  and  the  unrighteous  man  his  thoughts.'  Not  only 
make  conscience  of  our  way  or  our  outward  actions,  but  also  of  our 
thoughts,  and  the  secret  operations  of  our  hearts  :  James  iv.  8, '  Cleanse 
your  hands,  ye  sinners,  and  purify  your  hearts,  ye  double-minded.'  As 
we  should  not  do  evil  before  men,  so  not  think  evil  before  the  holy 
God  ;  for  those  things  fall  under  a  law  as  well  as  the  overt  acts. 

6.  There  are  some  commandments  we  have  no  great  temptation  to 
break,  others  that  lie  more  cross  to  our  humours  and  interests  ;  there- 
fore not  some  or  many  must  be  kept,  but  all.  A  sanctified  judgment 
must  approve  all,  a  sanctiified  will  choose  all,  as  justly  good,  neces.sary, 
and  profitable  for  us  ;  and  in  our  endeavours  we  must  obey  all :  Eom. 
vii.  12,  '  The  law  is  holy,  and  the  commandment  holy,  just,  and  good.' 
The  law  in  general,  and  that  commandment  which  had  wrought  such 
tragical  effects  in  his  heart,  it  is  all  good,  how  contrary  soever  to  our 
natural  or  perverse  inclinations.  If  we  set  up  a  toleration  in  our 
hearts,  we  are  not  sincere  :  Ps.  Ixvi.  18,  'If  I  regard  iniquity  in  my 
heart,  God  will  not  hear  me ; '  that  is,  if  he  did  cherish  it,  and  secretly 
foster  it.  There  is  something  wherein  you  would  be  excused  by  God, 
and  expect  favour  from  him.  A  man  that  would  keep  out  the  cold  in 
winter  shutteth  all  his  doors  and  windows,  yet  the  wind  will  creep  in, 
though  he  doth  not  leave  any  open  hole  for  it.  We  must  reserve  no 
sin ;  some  will  remain  after  the  best  care  and  caution.  Therefore  we 
must  not  obey  God  in  some  things,  and  break  with  him  in  others,  '  Nor 
trust  to  our  own  righteousness  and  commit  iniquity,'  Ezek.  xxxiii.  13. 
If  the  bosom  sin  be  not  weakened,  your  whole  righteousness  is  called 
in  question  :  Ps.  xviii.  23,  '  I  was  upright  before  him,  and  kept  myself 
from  mine  iniquity.'  There  are  some  sins  most  incident  to  us  by 
temper  of  body,  course  of  life,  or  carnal  interests.  Now  we  should 
mainly  cross  that  sin  which  is  most  pleasing,  and  dry  up  that  unclean 
i.ssue  that  runneth  upon  us.     Thus  for  the  object. 

Secondly,  The  act,  '  Keep  ; '  that  noteth  two  things — (1.)  The  in- 
ward respect  which  we  have  to  God's  laws  ;  (2.)  The  outward  action 
or  course  of  life  which  results  from  this. 

1.  The  inward  respect  which  we  have  to  God's  laws  in  our  memories, 
consciences,  and  afi'ections  :  Prov.  iii.  1,  '  Let  thine  heart  keep  my  com- 
mandments.' The  heart  keepeth  them  when  we  keep  them  in  mind  so 
as  to  understand  them  ;  in  memory,  so  as  not  to  neglect  them,  but 
have  them  ready  at  eveiy  turn  ;  in  heart  and  affection,  so  as  to  stand 

204  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXIX. 

in  awe  of  tliem :  Prov.  xiii.  13,  'Whosoever  feareth  the  command- 
ment, shall  be  rewarded ; '  Ps.  cxix.  161,  '  My  heart  standeth  in  awe 
of  thy  word.'  I  dare  not  do  anything  against  it,  yea,  do  delight  in  it : 
I*s,  cxix.  14,  '  I  have  rejoiced  in  the  way  of  thy  testimonies  more  than 
in  all  riches  ; '  Ps.  xl.  8,  '  I  delight  to  do  thy  will,  0  God  ;  thy  law  is 
in  my  heart.'  The  great  new  covenant  blessing  is  to  write  the  law  in 
the  heart  and  mind :  Heb.  viii.  10,  '  I  will  put  my  laws  into  their 
mind,  and  write  them  upon  their  hearts.'  Not  only  a  simple  approba- 
tion, but  a  delight,  or  a  ready  inclination  to  do  them.  Now  if  we  shall 
rise  up  in  rebellion  against  our  convictions,  and  offer  violence  to  incli- 
nation and  conscience,  we  grossly  break  God's  law,  as  in  all  heinous 
sins  we  do :  2  Sam.  xii.  9,  '  Wherefore  hast  thou  despised  the  com- 
mandment of  the  Lord,  to  do  evil  in  his  sight  ? '  An  inward  contempt 
or  disrespect  of  the  commandment  maketh  the  sin  more  heinous. 

2.  The  outward  observance  of  them :  Ps.  cxix.  5,  '  Oh,  that  my  ways 
were  directed  to  keep  thy  statutes  ! '  It  is  the  business  of  our  lives  to 
live  according  to  this  direction  :  John  xiv.  21,  '  He  that  hath  my  com- 
mandments and  keepeth  them  ; '  where  keeping  is  distinguished  from 
having.  The  commands  of  God  were  not  given  us  to  talk  of  or  think 
on,  but  to  do  them  :  Deut.  xii.  32,  '  Whatsoever  I  command  you,  ob- 
serve to  do  it.'  Do  not  gaze  on  it,  think  it  an  excellent  thing  to  do  so, 
but  set  about  the  practice. 

Secondly,  The  next  notion  whereby  the  good  conscience  is  expressed 
is  this,  '  And  do  those  things  which  are  pleasing  in  his  sight.'  This 
implieth  many  things. 

1.  That  it  be  our  design  and  scope  to  approve  ourselves  to  God  :  2 
Cor.  V.  9,  '  Wherefore  we  labour,  that,  whether  present  or  absent,  we 
may  be  accepted  of  him.'  This  is  the  end  that  we  propound  to  our- 
selves, what  is  your  mind  principally  set  upon  ?  The  end  which  you 
design  and  endeavour,  the  pleasing  and  glorifying  of  God,  and  the 
everlasting  fruition  of  him,  or  the  pleasing  of  your  fleshly  minds  in  the 
fruition  of  any  inferior  things?  That  is  your  end  which  you  love 
most,  which  pleases  you  best,  and  would  do  most  for,  and  can  least 
want.  The  people  of  God  are  described  to  be  those  that  '  choose  the 
things  which  please  him,  and  take  hold  of  his  covenant,'  Isa.  Ivi.  4. 
They  do  not  live  at  random  without  an  aim,  nor  do  good  by  chance,  but 
by  choice.  He  that  is  false  at  first  setting  out  can  never  hold  out 
with  God. 

2.  This  is  not  only  their  choice,  butthe  tenor  and  course  of  their  lives, 
Enoch,  that  walked  with  God,  is  said  tojiave  this  testimony,  that  he 
pleased  God,  Heb.  xi.  5,  with  Gen.  v.  24.  The  Septuagint  read  it,  they 
are  sincere  and  uniform  in  their  obedience  to  him.  Every  day  you 
must  reckon  with  yourselves.  Have  you  complied  with  your  great  end  ? 
What  have  I  done,  or  what  have  I  been  doing  ?  have  I  pleased  or  dis- 
pleased God  ? 

3.  It  is  not  in  a  few  things,  but  in  all:  Col.  i.  10,  '  Walk  worthy  of 
the  Lord  to  all  pleasing  ; '  not  in  with  one  duty  and  out  with  another,  for 
that  is  to  please  ourselves,  not  to  please  God;  or  to  please  men,  not  to 
obey  our  rule. 

4.  We  must  every  day  be  more  exact  in  our  walking  and  care  to 
please  God,  and  that  no  offence  or  breach  may  arise  between  him 

VeR.  22.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  IIT.  205 

and  us  :  1  Thes.  iv.  1,  '  As  you  have  received  of  us  how  to  walk  and 
to  please  God,  so  you  would  abound  therein  more  and  more.'  You 
never  please  God  so  much  but  you  may  please  him  better,  and  he  ex- 
pecteth  more  from  you  the  more  you  are  acquainted  with  him.  One 
that  is  newly  put  to  service  is  raw  at  first,  but  afterwards  he  groweth 
more  handy  and  fit  for  his  work;  so  you  must  first  outgrow  your 
weaknesses  if  you  think  to  please  God,  and  grow  more  exact  in  the 
spiritual  life. 

5.  If  there  be  anything  more  pleasing  to  God  than  another,  your 
main  care  must  be  about  those  things  ;  as,  for  instance,  it  is  mighty 
])leasing  to  God  that  you  should  seek  grace  rather  than  greatness,  and 
direction  in  your  duty  rather  than  worldly  honour :  1  Kings  iii.  10, 
the  speech  '  pleased  the  Lord,  that  Solomon  had  asked  this  thing.' 
Surely  it  is  more  pleasing  to  God  that  we  should  pray  from  the  spirit 
than  from  the  flesh,  not  seeking  great  things  for  ourselves,  but  that  we 
may  have  grace  to  discharge  our  duties  to  God.  So  that  in  our  duty 
we  should  mind  the  substantials  of  religion  rather  than  rituals  :  Rom. 
xiv.  17,  18,  '  For  the  kingdom  of  God  is  not  meat  and  drink,  but  right- 
eousness and  peace,  and  joy  in  the  Holy  Ghost ;  for  he  that  in  these 
things  serveth  Christ  is  acceptable  to  God  and  approved  of  men.' 
That  in  the  substantials  of  religion  we  should  not  leave  out  the  duties 
of  the  second  table,  as  faithfulness  in  our  relations.  The  scripture 
instanceth  in  the  duties  of  parents  and  children  ;  of  children's  duty  to 
parents  :  Col.  iii.  20,  '  For  this  is  well-pleasing  unto  God.'  Duties  of 
liberality  and  mercy  to  all  men  :  Heb.  xiii.  16,  '  For  to  do  good  and  to 
communicate  forget  not,  for  with  such  sacrifices  God  is  well  pleased.' 
Not  only  careful  of  justice,  but  also  of  mercy.  Now  it  is  a  shame  that, 
when  christians  hear  these  things  are  so  pleasing  to  God,  they  should 
not  set  about  them.  Esau  took  his  bow  to  seek  savoury  meat  for  his 
father  when  he  desired  it. 

II.  But  how  is  this  a  gospel  conscience  ?  What  could  the  law  re- 
quire more  ? 

Ans.  1.  We  consider  this  with  respect  to  fallen  man,  who  entereth 
upon  this  course  of  new  obedience  as  one  delivered  and  recovered  by 
Christ,  and  put  into  a  capacity  again  to  obey  and  please  God :  Luke  i. 
74,  75,  '  That  being  delivered  out  of  the  hands  of  our  enemies,  we  should 
serve  him  without  fear,  in  holiness  and  righteousness  before  him  all  the 
days  of  our  life  ; '  and  Eph.  iv.  24,  '  The  new  man  is  created  after  God 
in  righteousness  and  true  holiness.'  We  suppose  him  as  redeemed  by 
Christ,  and  renewed  by  his  Holy  Spirit.  Take  either  expression  ;  the 
first,  '  because  we  keep  his  commandments.'  We  receive  these  com- 
mandments out  of  the  hand  of  a  mediator,  whose  power  and  right  to 
command  is  not  de.structive  of  our  former  duty,  but  accumulative  ;  the 
debt  of  duty  ceased  not  by  man's  sin,  but  will  remain  while  there  is  a 
relation  between  the  Creator  and  the  creature  ;  but  this  is  a  power 
superadded  to  the  former,  and  is  more  comfortable  and  beneficial  to  us, 
that  Christ  would  set  us  in  joint  again,  and  put  us  into  a  capacity  of 
obeying  God.  It  is  a  blessed  thing  to  take  a  law  of  duty  out  of  the 
liand  of  a  mediator;  for  he  hath  not  only  obliged  us  by  his  great  love 
in  dying  for  us,  but  provided  both  for  our  assistance  and  acceptance, 
whilst  by  the  Spirit  of  Christ  we  have  Christ  to  help  us,  and  work  all 

206  SERMONS  upox  1  JOHi^  iiL  [Ser.  XXIX. 

our  works  for  us  and  in  ns,  and  orive  '  Grace  to  serve  God  acceptabl\' 
with  reverence  and  godly  tear,'  Heb.  xii.  28.  And  the  more  we  use 
this  grace,  the  more  it  is  increased  upon  us  ;  but  we  have  also  his  right- 
•  eousness,  by  virtue  of  which  we  are  accepted  with  God  :  Eph.  i.  6, 
'  Who  hath  accepted  us  in  the  Beloved.'  God  will  help  us  in  our  duty, 
and  will  accept  of  it  as  we  can  perform  it.  For  the  second  expression, 
'  And  do  the  things  that  please  him.'  God  is^rstplacandus  then  pla- 
cendiis,  first  appeased  towards  us  and  then  pleased  with  us;  appeased 
by  the  satisfaction  of  Christ,  which  is  imputed  to  none  but  those  that 
are  converted  and  justified  by  faith  :  Eom.  v.  8,  '  They  that  are  in  the 
flesh  cannot  please  God.'  Till  we  have  an  interest  in  the  great  sin- 
offering  which  was  offered  for  the  whole  congregation  of  the  elect,  God 
will  not  accept  of  a  thank-ofiering  at  our  hands,  nor  be  pleased  with 
anything  we  do  in  particularduties,  while  we  neglect  the  general  duty  of 
returning  to  God  by  Christ :  Heb.  xi.  6,  '  Without  faith  it  is  impossible 
to  please  God.'  None  can  please  God,  then,  but  those  that  are  regene- 
rated by  the  Spirit,  and  reconciled  to  him  by  Christ. 

2.  These  duties  are  done  in  a  gospel-like  manner,  out  of  love  to  God. 
or  a  sense  of  that  wonderful  grace  which  is  showed  us  in  Christ :  2 
Cor.  v.  14,  'The  love  of  Christ  constraineth  us.'  They  are  done  as  out 
of  thankfulness  and  that  great  love  which  we  owe  to  God  ;  the  cord 
which  binds  our  duty  upon  us  is  not  terror  but  love.  It  is  said,  1  John 
ii.  5,  '  Whoso  keepeth  his  commandments,  in  him  verily  is  the  love  of 
God  perfected;'  that  is,  hath  produced  its  proper  effect.  Faith  is  the 
means,  love  is  the  end,  and  obedience  is  the  proper  fruit  and  effect  of 
love.  Faith  is  physic,  love  is  health,  and  the  more  perfect  it  is  the 
sounder  christians  we  are.  Now  the  perfection  and  strength  of  love 
is  seen  in  new  obedience  ;  so  that  here  is  a  gospel  spirit,  and  a  gospel 
good  conscience,  when  we  study  and  endeavour  to  please  God. 

3.  This  keeping  the  commandments  and  pleasing  of  God  is  accepted 
where  there  is  a  cordial  and  hearty  endeavour  to  do  so,  though  our 
success  in  every  point  be  not  answerable.  It  is  not  unsinning  obedi- 
ence only  which  the  new  covenant  accepteth,  but  sincere  obedience  ; 
by  sin  we  are  disabled  from  an  exact  keeping  of  the  commandments, 
but  by  grace  we  are  accepted,  if  there  be  an  upright  heart  unfeignedly 
bent  and  heartily  endeavouring  to  please  God  in  all  things.  Grace 
doth  not  perfectly  produce  its  acts,  yet  it  doth  produce  them,  and  that 
in  such  a  degree  as  hypocrites  cannot  attain  to.  It  is  their  constant 
care  to  avoid  all  known  sin,  and  allow  themselves  in  the  neglect  of  no 
duty ;  now  such  are  pardoned  and  aQcepted  with  God  :  Ps.  xxxii.  1, 
2,  '  Blessed  is  he  whose  transgression  is  forgiven,  whose  sin  is  covered. 
Blessed  is  the  man  unto  whom  the  Lord  imputeth  not  iniquity,  and 
in  whose  spirit  there  is  no  guile,'  And  have  all  manner  of  blessings 
bestowed  upon  them :  Prov.  xi.  20,  *  Such  as  are  upright  in  their  way 
are  his  delight ; '  Ps.  xviii.  25,  '  With  an  upright  man  thou  wilt  show 
thyself  upright' 

III.  The  reasons  why  this  doth  constitute  a  good  and  quiet  con- 

1.  Because  then  our  hearts  will  not  disprove  our  confidence  grounded 
on  the  new  covenant,  which  accepteth  the  upright.  Certainly  the 
upright  are  within  the  compass  of  the  blessing  of  the  covenant.     That 

VeR  22.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  207 

is  so  obvious  a  truth,  that  it  needeth  not  much  confirmation.  When 
God  came  to  covenant  with  Abraham,  Gen.  xvii.  1,  he  saith  to  him, 
*  I  am  God  all-sufficient ;  walk  thou  before  me  and  be  thou  perfect ; ' 
that  is,  upright  and  sincere,  as  the  word  also  signifieth,  and  is  noted 
in  the  margin.  That  was  the  condition  required  of  him.  An  absolute 
perfection  human  frailty  doth  not  admit,  and  an  impossible  condition 
maketh  the  covenant  void  in  the  making,  and  so  the  transaction  would 
be  to  no  purpose.  So  elsewhere  all  the  blessings  of  the  covenant  are 
entailed  upon  the  upright :  Ps.  Ixxxiv.  11,  'For  the  Lord  God  is  a  sun 
and  a  shield  ;  the  Lord  will  give  grace  and  glory,  and  no  good  thing  will 
he  withhold  from  them  that  walk  uprightly.'  Once  more,  eternal  hap- 
piness shall  be  their  portion  :  Ps.  cxl.  13,  'The  upright  shall  dwell  in 
thy  presence.'  Besides  all  the  testimonies  of  God's  love  granted  to  the 
believer,  he  shall  have  everlasting  fellowship  with  God  in  the  world 
to  come.  David  asketh  the  question,  Ps.  xv.  1,  2,  'Who  shall  abide  ia 
thy  tabernacle  ?  who  shall  dwell  in  thy  holy  hill  ?  He  that  walketh 
uprightly,  and  worketh  righteousness,  and  speaketh  the  truth  in  his 
heart ; '  that  is,  if  I  should  take  the  boldness  to  interrogate  thee,  who 
art  the  Lord  of  heaven  and  earth,  who  shall  be  rewarded  with  eternal 
bliss  hereafter  ?  the  answer  certainly  will  be  this,  He  that  walketh 
uprightly,  he,  and  none  but  he,  that  goeth  on  in  a  course  of  uniform 
and  steady  obedience,  that  doetli  all  things  sincerely  and  in  the  sight 
of  God  ;  he  it  is  that  shall  be  accepted  and  admitted,  not  out  of  any 
worthiness  in  himself,  but  from  God's  love  and  promise  to  dwell  ever- 
lastingly with  him. 

2.  This  walking  uprightly  comprehendeth  true  faith,  and  cheerful 
obedience  to  God's  commandments  ;  that  is  to  be  righteous  and  up- 
right: 'To  walk  in  all  the  commandments  and  ordinances  of  the  Lord 
blameless,'  Luke  i.  6  ;  for  a  care  to  avoid  all  known  sin,  and  make 
conscience  of  all  known  duty,  is  certainly  uprightness.  It  doth  not 
imply  a  total  exemption  from  sin,  but  an  allowance  of  none  ;  they 
mourn  for  it,  strive  against  it,  and  prevail  so  far  that  the  contrary 
principle  groweth,  and  doth  mostly  and  generally  command  and  influ- 
ence their  conversations.  Grace  getteth  the  upper  hand,  not  for  a  fit, 
but  habitually  ;  therefore  such  may  with  comfort  come  to  God,  and 
have  no  reason  to  question  their  acceptance  with  him,  for  they  are 
conscious  to  themselves  of  their  faithfulness  to  God,  and  sincere  desire 
to  walk  in  his  ways  ;  their  own  hearts  do  not  reproach  them,  and  God 
will  not  refuse  them :  Ps.  cxix.  6,  'Then  shall  I  not  be  ashamed  when 
I  have  respect  unto  all  thy  commandments.'  No  cause  to  be  afraid 
or  ashamed  to  come  to  him  ;  there  is  enough  to  humble,  but  not  to 
discourage  them,  for  their  hearts  do  acquit  them  of  any  allowance  of 
sin  or  breach  of  God's  law. 

3.  It  is  the  true  trial  and  proof  of  our  sincere  love  to  Christ,  and 
therefore  we  may  have  confidence  towards  God,  and  this  confidence, 
'  That  what  we  ask  we  shall  receive  of  him,'  under  the  cautions  and 
restrictions  forementioned.  I  shall  prove  this  argument  by  these  con- 

[1.]  That  true  faith  in  Christ  breedeth  sincere  love  to  God :  Gal. 
iv.  6,  '  Faith  worketh  by  love.'  The  true  office  of  faith  is  to  persuade 
the  soul  of  the  astonishing  wonders  of  God's  love  shown  in  the  redemp- 

208  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXIX. 

tion  by  Christ:  'We  have  known  and  believed  the  love  that  God  hath 
to  us,'  1  John  iv,  16.  And  why?  Not  only  that  we  may  gaze  on  it 
with  amazement,  but '  that  we  may  love  him  again  who  loved  us  first,' 
ver.  19.  That  this  love  may  make  a  due  impression  upon  us,  and 
melt  us  into  all  love  and  respect  to  God,  who  pitied  us  in  our  lost 
estate,  and  provided  so  full  and  costly  a  remedy  for  us.  The  gospel 
is  an  art  or  science  to  teach  us  to  love  God. 

[2.]  That  the  true  proof  of  our  love  to  God  is  our  keeping  his  com- 
mandments, and  doing  the  things  which  are  pleasing  in  his  sight.  For 
God's  love  is  a  love  of  bount}^  ours  a  love  of  duty,  a  studying  to  please 
God  according  to  his  will :  1  John  v.  3, '  This  is  love,  to  keep  his  com- 
mandments, and  his  commandments  are  not  grievous  ; '  John  xiv,  21, 
'  He  that  hath  my  commandments,  and  keepeth  them,  he  it  is  that 
loveth  me.'  That  is  the  love  of  Christ.  It  is  a  lazy  love  that  only 
talketh  of  the  great  things  he  hath  done  for  us,  but  doetli  nothing  for 
God  again,  or  languisheth  in  complaints  after  sensible  consolations. 
No ;  do  your  duty  ;  love  must  be  laborious,  not  idle,  and  one  cannot  be 
better  employed  than  in  doing  those  things  which  he  hath  given  us  in 

[3.]  Obedience,  as  it  is  an  evidence  of  our  love  to  Christ,  so  it  is  a 
means  of  keeping  up  the  sense  and  assurance  of  his  love  to  us  :  John 
XV.  10,  '  If  ye  keep  my  commandments,  ye  shall  abide  in  my  love,  as 
I  kept  the  Father's  commandments,  and  abode  in  his  love.'  It  is  holy 
walking  is  a  means  that  will  not  delude  us,  but  give  us  a  large  share  in 
his  heart  and  love.  God  delighteth  to  vouchsafe  the  testimonies  of  his 
love  and  well-pleasedness  with  us :  Jolm  xiv.  15,  '  Ye  are  my  friends 
if  ye  do  whatsoever  I  command  you.'  There  is  a  double-tried  friend, 
actively,  passively.  Actively,  you  show  yourselves  friends  to  Christ 
when  to  the  uttermost  of  your  power  you  set  yourselves  to  do  what  he 
hath  commanded.  Passively,  he  will  show  himself  a  friend  to  you ; 
ye  shall  be  dealt  with  as  friends ;  I  will  reckon  you  as  friends  ;  all  the 
world  shall  see  I  love  you  ;  I  will  bountifully  reward  and  gratify 
you  :  John  xiv.  21,  '  He  that  hath  my  commandments,  and  keepeth 
them,  he  it  is  that  loveth  me  ;  and  he  that  loveth  me  shall  be  beloved 
of  my  Father,  and  I  will  love  him,  and  manifest  myself  to  him;'  ver. 
23,  '  If  a  man  love  me,  he  will  keep  my  words ;  and  my  Father  will 
love  him,  and  we  will  come  unto  him,  and  make  our  abode  with  him.' 
God  delights  to  manifest  himself  to  such,  to  own  them,  to  bestow 
peculiar  marks  of  favour  upon  them. 

[4.]  Among  other  rewards  of  love  and  faithful  obedience,  this  is  one, 
the  audience  and  acceptance  of  their  prayer.  In  his  providential  gov- 
ernment, internal  or  external,  God  doth  many  ways  own  them,  by  his 
gracious  presence,  counselling,  directing,  quickening  them  :  John  viii. 
29,  '  And  he  that  sent  me  is  with  me ;  the  Father  hath  not  left  me 
alone,  for  I  do  always  those  things  that  please  him.'  By  mollifying 
the  hearts  of  enemies  :  Prov.  viii.  17,  '  When  a  man's  ways  please  the 
Lord,  he  maketh  his  enemies  to  be  at  peace  with  him.'  By  the  com- 
forts of  his  Spirit,  and  shedding  abroad  his  love  in  their  hearts  that 
love  Christ :  Prov.  xvi.  7,  '  I  love  them  that  love  me.*  By  peace  of 
conscience  ;  for  the  fruit  of  righteousness  is  peace.  By  entertainment 
of  them  in  all  their  approaches  to  God  :  Isa.  Ixiv.  5,  *  Thou  meetest 

VeU.  22.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  209 

liim  that  rejoiceth  and  worketh  righteousness,  those  that  remember 
thee  in  thy  ways.'  God  showeth  abundance  of  kindness  to  them  in  the 
course  of  his  providential  government,  but  chiefly  in  assisting  and  ac- 
cepting their  prayers ;  so  that  '  whatever  we  ask  we  receive,  because 
we  keep  his  commandments,  and  do  the  things  that  are  pleasing  in  his 
sight.'  All  the  rest  tend  to  this,  and  this  is  often  promised  in  the 
word,  and  the  contrary  threatened  to  those  who  pretend  love  to  God, 
l)ut  do  not  keep  his  commandments  :  Ps.  xxxvii.  4,  '  Delight  thyself 
also  in  the  Lord,  and  he  shall  give  thee  the  desires  of  thy  heart ; '  Prov, 
X.  24,  '  The  desire  of  the  righteous  shall  be  granted.' 

Use  1.  Is  information,  to  show  ns  the  necessity  of  obedience,  if  wo 
would  keep  a  good  conscience  and  be  accepted  with  God.  All  the 
prayers  of  men  that  continue  in  their  sins  are  but  like  bribes  ;  the  gifts 
of  enemies  are  giftless :  Prov.  xxi.  27,  '  The  sacrifice  of  the  wicked  is 
an  abomination ;  how  much  more  when  he  bringeth  it  with  an  evil 
mind?'  However  he  bringeth  it,  there  is  some  perverse  aim  in  his 
worship,  that  God  should  prosper  him  in  his  sins. 

2.  That  in  the  christian  religion  there  is  true  genuine  holiness, 
because  it  is  derived  from  the  highest  fountain,  the  Spirit  of  Christ ; 
and  it  is  carried  on  in  conformity  to  the  highest  rule  and  pattern,  the 
will  of  God;  and  designed  to  the  noblest  end,  the  pleasing,  glorifying, 
and  enjoying  of  God  ;  all  this  must  needs  breed  peace.  So  is  the 
gospel  good  conscience  described  in  the  text.  First,  The  highest 
fountain ;  for  we  obey  as  redeemed  and  renewed  :  Titus  iii.  5,  6, 
'  Not  by  works  of  righteousness  which  we  have  done,  but  according  to 
his  mercy  he  saved  us,  by  the  washing  of  regeneration,  and  renewing 
of  the  Holy  Ghost,  which  he  shed  on  us  abundantly  through  Jesus 
Christ  our  Saviour.'  As  changed  in  our  natures,  and  made  like  God  : 
John  iii.  6,  '  That  which  is  born  of  the  Spirit  is  spirit ; '  2  Peter  i.  4, 
'  Whereby  are  given  unto  us  exceeding  great  and  precious  promises, 
that  by  these  ye  might  be  partakers  of  the  diviue  nature.'  Secondly, 
The  liighest  rule,  the  will  of  God  or  his  commandments.  He  doth 
not  only  do  what  he  comraandeth,  but  because  he  commandeth,  intuilit 
voluntatis :  1  Thes.  iv.  3,  '  For  this  is  the  will  of  God,  even  your 
sanctification  ; '  1  Peter  ii.  15,  '  For  so  is  the  will  of  God  ; '  1  Thes. 
v.  18,  '  For  this  is  the  will  of  God  concerning  you.'  We  have  the 
best  warrant  for  peace  and  assurance,  the  command  and  will  of  the 
]nost  high  God.  And,  thirdly,  the  highest  end,  the  pleasing  God, 
glorifying  and  enjoying  God  :  1  Cor.  x.  31,  '  Whether  you  eat  or  drink, 
or  whatsoever  ye  do,  do  all  to  the  glory  of  God.' 

Use  2.  To  persuade  you  to  holiness  in  keeping  the  commandments 
and  pleasing  of  God  ;  we  have  many  arguments. 

1.  From  the  authority  of  God  :  Ps.  cxix.  4,  'Thou  hast  commanded 
us  to  keep  thy  precepts  diligently.'  It  is  a  course  imposed  upon  us  by 
ihe  sovereign  Lawgiver,  upon  whom  you  depend  every  moment ;  and 
he  will  not  be  baffled  and  affronted. 

2.  The  equity  of  the  precepts :  Ptora.  vii.  12,  '  The  commandments 
are  holy,  just,  and  good.'  They  carry  a  great  evidence  and  suitableness 
to  the  reasonable  nature;  so  that  if  man  were  well  in  his  wits,  he  would 
choose  obedience  to  tliese  laws  rather  than  liberty. 

3.  Tiie  possibility  of  keeping  these  commandments,  and  of  pleasing 
VOL.  xxr.  0 

210  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III,         [SeR.  XXX. 

God,  by  the  grace  purchased  by  Christ :  Heb.  xiii.  21,  '  Make  you 
perfect  in  every  good  work  to  do  his  will,  working  in  you  that  which 
is  pleasing  in  his  sight,'  The  rule  is  the  will  of  God.  This  will  is 
observed  when  we  do  every  good  work ;  this  done  is  pleasing  unto  God. 
4.  Consider  the  profitableness  of  obedience,  and  how  much  it  con- 
duceth  to  our  good :  Deut.  xiii.  10,  '  To  keep  the  commandments  of 
God  and  his  statutes,  which  I  command  thee  this  day  for  thy  good.' 
Our  labour  is  not  lost  or  misspent.  A  godly  course  is  refreshed  by 
many  sweet  experiences  for  the  present,  and  will  bring  in  a  full  reward 
for  the  future :  Ps.  cxix.  56,  '  This  I  had  because  I  kept  thy  precepts.' 


And  this  is  Ms  commandment,  that  ive  should  believe  in  the  name  of 
his  Son,  and  love  one  another,  as  he  gave  us  commandment. — 
1  John  iii.  23. 

The  apostle  instanceth  what  commandments  we  should  observe  if  we 
would  keep  a  good  conscience.  Two  are  mentioned — faith  in  Christ, 
and  an  unfeigned  love  to  the  brethren  ;  both  are  introduced  by  a 
preface  suitable  to  the  occasion.  Therefore  I  shall  first  explain  the 
preface  ;  secondly,  the  particular  duties  mentioned. 
First,  In  the  preface  take  notice — 

1.  Of  the  unity,  agreement,  and  fair  accord  between  these  duties; 
though  two  duties  are  mentioned,  yet  but  one  commandment. 

2.  The  excellency  of  them,  '  His  commandment.' 

1.  The  unity  and  agreement  between  gospel  duties.  He  had  said 
'  commandments '  in  the  former  verse  ;  and  here  are  two  duties  speci- 
fied, yet  these  are  not  '  his  commandments,'  but '  his  commandment,' 
a  change  of  numbers  often  used  by  the  sacred  writers.  The  whole 
gospel  is  but  one  commandment :  1  Tim.  i.  5,  '  The  end  of  the  com- 
mandment is  charity  ; '  that  is,  of  the  gospel  institution. 

2.  The  excellency ;  this  is  the  commandment  which  is  signalised  by 
Christ's  authority,  and  expressly  charged  on  us,  and  to  which  other 
duties  are  reduced.  It  is  such  an  expression  as  you  have,  John  vi.  29, 
'  This  is  the  work  of  God,  that  ye  believe  on  him  whom  he  hath  sent.' 
The  context  there  standetli  thus ;  thousands  being  fed  by  a  miracle, 
many  followed  him  for  the  loaves,  therefore  Christ  telleth  them  of 
spiritual  bread.  He  came  down  from  heaven,  not  to  supply  hungry 
stomachs,  but  to  comfort  hungry  consciences :  '  Labour  not  for  the 
meat  that  perisheth,  but  for  the  meat  that  endureth  for  ever,  which 
the  Son  of  man  shall  give  you  ;  for  him  hath  the  Father  sent.'  That 
direction  occasioned  a  question.  What  shall  we  do  that  we  may  labour 
or  work  the  works  of  God  ?  Christ  answereth  them, '  This  is  the  work 
of  God,  that  ye  believe  on  him  whom  he  hath  sent.'  There  is  a  meiosis 
in  the  expression  ;  you  talk  of  works,  this  is  the  work.  As  if  a  man 
should  come  to  a  charitable  physician,  Sir,  I  am  grievously  tormented 

VeU.  23.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  211 

with  such  a  disease,  what  shall  I  give  3'ou  for  the  cure  ?  and  his  answer 
should  he,  This  is  that  5'ou  shall  give  me,  to  be  confident  of  my  skill 
and  fidelity  to  help  you,  and  use  the  means  which  I  prescribe  for  your 
recovery :  '  This  is  the  work  of  God/  So  here  ;  this  is  the  command- 

Secondly,  The  particular  duties  mentioned  are  faith  in  Christ  and 
love  to  the  brethren. 

1.  Faith  in  Jesus  Christ,  that  we  should  believe  on  the  name  of  his 
Son  Jesus  Christ.  The  name  of  Christ  is  Christ  himself,  or  Christ 
considered  as  revealed  in  the  gospel ;  then  we  believe  in  the  name  of 
Jesus  Christ  when  we  believe  all  that  is  revealed  in  the  gospel  con- 
cerning Jesus  Christ,  i.e.,  assent  with  an  affiance  to  the  doctrine  con- 
cerning his  person,  offices,  benefits,  and  the  way  how  we  come  to  attain 
them  according  to  the  covenant  of  grace.  This  is  to  believe  in  his 
name,  to  assent  to  what  is  said  concerning  his  person  and  offices,  and 
to  consent  to  deal  with  him  upon  these  terms,  depending  upon  him  to 
obtain  these  benefits  in  the  appointed  way.  The  same  expression  is 
used,  John  iii.  18,  'Because  he  believeth  not  in  the  name  of  the  Son  of 
God.'  So  Acts  X.  43,  '  Through  his  name  whosoever  believeth  on  him 
shall  receive  the  remission  of  sins.'  So  John  xx.  31,  *  These  things  are 
written,  that  ye  may  believe  that  Jesus  is  the  Son  of  God,  and  that, 
believing,  ye  may  have  life  through  his  name  ; '  that  is,  obtain  salvation 
according  to  the  way  appointed  in  the  scriptures  or  the  new  covenant. 

2.  For  love :  '  And  love  one  another,  as  he  gave  commandment.' 
By  *  one  another,'  he  meaneth  principally  that  christians  should  love 
one  another.  Christians  are  bound  to  love  all  men,  even  their  enemies, 
Mat.  V.  44.  Yet  seeing  God  is  to  be  loved  chiefly,  and  others  in  subor- 
dination to  him,  as  Mat.  xxii.  38,  39,  it  followetli  that  those  ought  to 
have  most  of  our  love  who  love  God  most,  and  are  most  beloved  of 
him,  and  are  made  partakers  of  the  divine  nature,  and  resemble  God 
most.  But  not  only  the  duty,  but  the  manner  is  here  enforced  :  *  As 
he  hath  given  us  commandment ; '  and  that  is,  that  when  the  case 
requireth  it,  we  must  lay  down  our  lives  for  the  brethren  :  John  xiii. 
34,  '  A  new  commandment  give  I  unto  you,  that  ye  love  one  another.' 
There  is  the  substance  of  the  duty,  and  then  it  followeth,  '  As  I  have 
loved  you,  that  ye  also  love  one  another.'  There  is  the  manner  again  : 
John  XV.  12,  13,  '  This  is  my  commandment,  that  ye  love  one  another, 
as  I  have  loved  you  :  greater  love  hath  no  man  than  this,  that  a  man 
lay  down  his  life  for  his  friends ;'  meaning  thereby,  not  only  to  com- 
mend his  own  love  to  us,  to  heighten  our  gratitude,  but  also  to  commend 
his  example  tons,  and  to  heighten  our  charity  and  love  to  the  brethren. 

Doct.  That  faith  in  Christ  and  brotherly  love  are  things  intimately 
conjoined,  and  must  always  go  together. 

1.  I  shall  speak  of  the  nature  of  these  two  graces  or  duties  apart. 

2.  Show  how  intimately  they  are  and  must  be  conjoined ;  and  there 
speak — (1.)  Of  the  inseparable  connection  between  faith  and  love ;  (2.) 
The  order,  how  the  one  groweth  out  of  the  other,  as  the  effect  out  of 
the  cause  ;  first  faith,  then  love. 

I.  I  shall  speak  distinctly  of  the  graces  and  duties ;  and  there — 
First,  Of  faith  in  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.     A  subject  necessary  to  bo 
treated  ofj  because  the  scripture  is  so  full  in  assuring  pardon  and  lifu 

212  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.         [SeR.  XXX. 

to  believers,  and  because  christians  do  so  often  ask  us  what  that  saving 
faith  is  by  which  they  may  assure  their  title  and  interest ;  and  because 
a  mistake  in  this  point  is  of  a  dangerous  nature.  Therefore  to  open  to 
you  the  faith  by  which  the  just  do  live  cannot  be  unpleasing  to  you. 
I  shall  do  it  in  these  considerations  or  propositions. 

1.  That  faith  in  Christ  and  in  his  word  is  reckoned  distinct  from 
believing  in  God :  John  xiv.  1, '  Ye  believe  in  God,  believe  also  in  me.' 
We  believe  in  God  as  an  all-sufficient  fountain  of  grace,  and  in  Christ 
as  an  all-sufficient  mediator,  whom  he  "hath  sent  to  recover  the  lost 
world :  John  xvii.  3,  '  And  this  is  life  eternal,  that  they  might  know 
thee  the  only  true  God,  and  Jesus  Christ  whom  thou  hast  sent.'  To 
know  God  as  the  only  supreme  being  to  be  worshipped,  obeyed  and 
enjoyed,  and  the  Lord  Jesus  as  our  Eedeemer,  and  the  Holy  Spirit  as 
our  guide,  to  bring  us  home  to  God,  and  to  procure  for  us  the  benefits 
of  pardon  and  life,  which  life  is  to  be  begun  here  and  perfected  in 

2.  That  Christ  executeth  the  office  of  mediator  as  king,  priest,  and 
prophet ;  for  he  is  not  only  said  to  be  sent,  but  anointed  :  Acts  x.  38, 
'  God  anointed  Jesus  of  Nazareth  with  the  Holy  Ghost  and  with  power.' 
As  priests,  prophets,  and  kings  were  used  to  be  anointed,  so  was  Jesus 
Christ  anointed,  thence  called  both  Christ  and  Messiah,  which  signifieth 
anointed:  John  xx.  31,  'That  Jesus  is  the  Christ,  the  Son  of  God  ;' 
and  Acts  ii.  36,  '  God  hath  made  that  Jesus  whom  ye  crucified  both 
Lord  and  Christ.'  Now  one  of  these  offices  concerneth  his  mediation 
Avith  God,  the  other  his  mediation  with  men.  His  priesthood  iraplieth 
all  that  good  which  he  procureth  for  us  by  his  mediation  with  the  Father. 
His  prophetical  and  kingly  office  concerns  his  mediation  with  us,  to 
bring  us  to  be  partakers,  and  interested  in  these  things  ;  both  must  be 
considered  by  faith  :  Heb.  iii.  1,  '  Consider  the  apostle  and  high  priest 
of  our  profession,  Jesus  Christ.'  Though  his  prophetical  office  be  there 
only  mentioned,  yet  his  regal  must  not  be  excluded ;  for  all  truths 
are  not  laid  down  in  one  place.  Both  are  mentioned,  Isa.  Iv.  4, 
'  Behold  I  have  given  him  for  a  witness  to  the  people,  a  leader  and 
commander  to  the  people,'  i.e.,  prophet  and  king.  Now  we  must  not 
so  reflect  upon  his  mediation  with  God  as  to  overlook  his  mediation 
with  men  ;  for  a  mediator  is  not  of  one,  but  must  deal  with  both  parties ; 
and  therefore  Jesus  is  a  saviour,  not  only  as  our  ransomer  and  surety, 
but  also  as  our  teacher  and  king.  Therefore  they  deceive  you,  and  under- 
stand not  the  nature  of  faith,  that  make  it  conversant  about  one  office 
only,  as  those  do  that  confine  it  to  the  death  and  righteousness  of  Christ, 
and  pardon  of  sin,  and  promise  of  pardon  ;  as  if  faith  only  served  to  com- 
fort them  with  the  assurance  of  God's  love,  and  were  but  a  claim  and 
application  of  privileges:  this  is  to  mangle  Christ  and  the  gospel,  to 
reflect  upon  his  mediation  with  God  only,  and  not  with  man.  Or  if 
there  be  any  consideration  of  his  mediation  with  man,  they  rend  his 
prophetical  office  from  his  kingly,  while  they  look  only  to  the  privileges 
of  the  covenant,  do  not  receive  Christ  Jesus  as  the  Lord,  that  they 
may  be  ruled  by  his  authority,  and  live  by  his  laws.  Nay,  in  his 
prophetical,  they  abstract  privileges  from  duties,  and  promises  from 
precepts,  and  so  do  not  follow  the  order  prescribed  in  his  word  and 
teaching,  but  take  up  a  Christ  according  to  their  own  fancy,  and  mis- 

VeR.  23.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  213 


take  a  dream  for  faith.  No ;  the  Christ;  represented  to  us  as  an  object 
of  faith  is  a  priest  who  died  for  us,  and  representeth  his  death  and 
merit  by  his  constant  intercession,  and,  as  the  great  prophet  of  the 
church,  hath  taught  us  the  way  of  life,  and  as  a  king  hath  required 
obedience  at  our  hands,  under  the  promise  of  eternal  life  and  the 
punishment  of  eternal  death,  binding  us  to  do  all  that  he  hath 
required,  that  we  may  obtain  the  effect  of  his  promises. 

3.  That  the  great  business  of  the  Mediator  in  the  discharge  of  these 
offices  is  to  recover  us  to  God,  which  is  done  both  by  redemption  and 
salvation.  By  redemption :  1  Peter  iii.  18,  '  For  Christ  also  hath  once 
suffered  for  sins,  the  just  for  the  unjust,  that  he  might  bring  us  to  God.' 
Salvation :  John  xiv.  6,  '  Jesus  saith  unto  him,  I  am  the  way,  the 
truth,  and  the  life ;  no  man  cometh  to  the  Father  but  by  me.'  Now 
this  is  either  begun  or  perfected ;  begun  by  regeneration  and  reconcilia- 
tion. By  regeneration  :  Titus  iii.  5,  '  Not  by  works  of  lighteousness 
which  we  have  done,  but  according  to  his  mercy  he  saved  us,  by  the 
washing  of  regeneration  and  the  renewing  of  the  Holy  Ghost.'  By 
reconciliation :  2  Cor.  v.  19, '  To  wit,  that  God  was  in  Christ,  reconciling 
the  world  to  himself,  not  imputing  their  trespasses  to  them.'  And 
perfected  in  heaven,  which  is  our  complete  salvation,  or  salvation  to  the 
uttermost :  1  Tim.  i.  15,  16,  '  This  is  a  true  and  faithful  saying,  that 
Jesus  Christ  came  into  the  world  to  save  sinners.  Howbeit  for  this 
cause  I  obtained  mercy,  that  in  me  first  Jesus  Christ  might  show  forth 
all  long-suffering,  for  a  pattern  to  them  which  should  hereafter  believe 
on  him  to  everlasting  life.'  Then  a  full  and  mutual  complacence :  we 
delight  in  God,  and  God  in  us ;  we  love  him,  and  God  loves  us ;  we 
love  him  perfectly,  and  we  have  the  perfect  reception  of  his  love  to  us, 
and  the  benefits  flowing  thence. 

4.  That  this  grace  of  recovery  and  restoration  is  revealed  and 
declared  to  us  in  the  word  ;  for  the  gospel  word  is  both  the  means  and 
the  matter  of  our  faith.  It  is  the  means  :  '  For  how  sliall  they  believe 
in  him  of  whom  they  have  not  heard?'  Eom.  x.  17.  And  Christ 
prayeth,  John  xvii.  20,  '  Neither  pray  I  for  these  alone,  but  for  them 
also  which  shall  believe  in  me  through  their  word.'  And  it  is  the 
matter  and  object  of  our  faith ;  for  in  the  text  it  is  said,  we  believe  in 
the  name  of  the  Son  of  God ;  that  is,  all  which  is  revealed  concerning 
him  in  the  scriptures,  and  the  way  of  salvation  and  recovery  offered  by 
him.  Christ  is  the  object  of  faith,  and  the  covenant  of  grace  is  the 
object  of  faith,  called  therefore,  '  The  word  of  faith,'  Kom.  x.  8.  Now 
we  make  a  gospel  to  ourselves  if  we  pitch  upon  benefits  only  or  pro- 
mises only ;  for  the  word  of  faith  consists  of  precepts  as  well  as 
promises,  and  requires  duties  as  well  as  it  offers  benefits.  Therefore, 
as  we  expect  pardon  and  life  from  God,  we  must  perform  the  duties 
due  from  us  to  God  and  man. 

5.  That  the  acts  of  faith  are  three  about  this  word  of  truth,  or 
Christ  revealed  therein — assent,  consent,  trust  or  dependence. 

[1.]  As.sent  to  the  truth  of  the  christian  doctrine,  that  Jesus  is  such 
as  the  word  representetli  him  to  be,  the  Christ  and  the  Saviour  of  the 
world,  who  came  to  recover  us  to  God :  John  vi.  (J9,  '  We  believe 
and  are  sure  that  thou  art  the  Christ,  the  Son  of  the  living  God.' 
Tliis  is  the  fundamental  principle  which  supporteth  all  religion,  and 

214  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.         [SeR.  XXX. 


enliveneth  all  the  lesser  truths,  that  they  have  the  greater  influence 
upon  our  hearts.  This  begets  firm  adherence  to  Christ,  whatever 
temptations  we  have  to  the  contrary :  1  John  v.  5,  '  Who  is  he  that 
overcometh  the  world,  but  he  that  believeth  that  Jesus  is  the  Son  of 
God  ?  '  Many  have  a  human  credulity  that  find  no  such  effects,  but 
not  a  cordial  and  hearty  assent  wrought  in  them  by  the  Holy  Ghost. 
They  take  up  this  opinion  upon  custom,  education,  and  common  induce- 
ments, but  not  as  a  divine  testimony  brought  to  us  in  the  word,  and 
3ealed  and  confirmed  to  us  by  the  Holy  Spirit. 

[2.]  Consent  to  God's  offer  of  Christ,  that  he  may  be  our  Lord  and 
Saviour :  John  i.  12,  '  To  as  many  as  received  him,  to  them  gave  he 
power  to  become  the  sons  of  God,  even  to  as  many  as  believe  in  his 
name  ; '  Col.  ii.  6,  '  And  as  ye  have  received  Christ  Jesus  the  Lord,  so 
walk  in  him.'  Or  to  the  covenant  of  grace,  called '  A  receiving  the  word,' 
Acts  ii.  41.  Accepting  the  benefits  offered  us,  as  our  only  happiness, 
resolving  on  the  duties  required  as  our  constant  work. 

[3.]  Trust  or  dependence  on  Christ,  or  as  putting  ourselves  into  his 
hands,  that  we  may  be  recovered  and  saved  from  sin  and  punishment, 
and  brought  home  to  God  in  perfect  happiness  and  glory  :  Eph.  i  11, 
12, '  In  whom  also  we  have  obtained  an  inheritance,  being  predestinated 
according  to  the  purpose  of  him  who  worketh  all  things  after  the  counsel 
of  his  own  will :  that  we  should  be  to  the  praise  of  his  glory,  who  first 
trusted  in  Christ ; '  2  Tim,  i.  12,  '  For  I  know  whom  I  believed,  and  I 
am  persuaded  that  he  is  able  to  keep  that  which  I  have  committed 
unto  him  against  that  day.' 

6.  The  modification  of  these  acts  is  this,  that  this  assent,  joined  with 
consent,  is  cordial  and  hearty :  Acts  viii.  37,  '  If  thou  believest  with 
all  thine  heart ; '  and  both  accompanied  with  a  fiducial  trust.  Now 
this  trust  is  practical,  so  as,  forsaking  all  other  things,  we  give  up  our- 
selves to  the  conduct  of  his  word  and  Spirit. 

[1.]  It  produceth  mortification  and  self-denial.  This  is  included  in 
the  nature  of  faith ;  for  faith  implieth  a  carrying  off  the  heart  from 
things  visible  and  temporal  to  things  spiritual,  invisible,  and  eternal  ; 
in  a  recess  from  the  world  and  worldly  things,  and  an  access  to  God 
and  heaven  :  2  Cor.  iv.  18,  '  For  we  look  not  to  the  things  which  are 
seen,  but  to  the  things  which  are  not  seen  ;  for  the  things  whifeh  are 
seen  are  temporal,  but  the  things  which  are  not  seen  are  eternal ; '  1 
John  v.  4,  '  Whosoever  is  born  of  God  overcometh  the  world ;  and  this 
is  the  victory  that  overcometh  the  world,  even  our  faith.'  We  must 
forsake  all  other  happiness  and  hopes' in  confidence  of  Gods  promise 
through  Jesus  Christ ;  in  vow  and  resolution,  as  soon  as  we  believe ; 
actually,  when  anything  in  the  world  is  inconsistent  with  our  duty  to 
Christ  and  fidelity  to  him  :  Mat.  xiii.  45,  46,  '  The  kingdom  of  heaven 
is  like  unto  a  merchantman  seeking  goodly  pearls  ;  who  when  lie  had 
found  one  pearl  of  great  price,  he  went  and  sold  all  that  he  had,  and 
bought  it;'  Luke  xiv.  33,  'Whosoever  he  be  of  you  that  forsaketh  not 
all  he  hath,  he  cannot  be  my  disciple.'  You  cannot  continue  constant 
in  the  profession  of  Christ,  nor  uniformly  perform  the  duties  he  re- 
quireth  of  you,  unless  your  hearts  be  weaned  from  the  world.  Christ 
propoundeth  the  true  happiness,  to  draw  us  off  from  the  false  happi- 
ness.   Our  accepting  the  one  is  a  kind  of  quitting  the  other,  or  a  lessen- 

VeR.  23.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  215 

ing  of  it  at  least  in  our  esteem,  as  a  tiling  unworthy  to  come  in  com- 
petition with  Christ  or  tlie  benefits  offered  by  him,  or  to  obstruct  the 
duty  we  owe  to  him. 

[2.]  A  devoting  and  giving  up  ourselves  to  the  conduct  of  his  word 
nnd  iSpirit.  Certainly  all  those  that  believe  in  the  Son  of  God  put 
tliemselves'into  his  hands,  taking  his  will  for  the  rule  of  their  lives  and 
actions,  and  look  to  be  kept  by  his  power  unto  salvation :  2  Cor.  viii. 
5,  '  And  this  they  did,  not  as  we  hoped,  but  first  gave  their  own  selves 
to  the  Lord,  and  unto  us  by  the  will  of  God.'  His  word  is  their  rule : 
Gal.  vi.  16,  'As  many  as  walk  according  to  this  rule.'  His  Spirit 
Iheir  guide  :  Kom.  viii.  14,  '  For  as  many  as  are  led  by  the  Spirit  of 
God,  are  the  sons  of  God.'  His  precepts  show  their  duty,  and  by  the 
strength  of  his  S[)irit  they  perform  it ;  so  that  faith  in  the  Son  of  God 
is  such  a  trusting  ourselves  in  his  hands  as  begets  fidelity  to  him. 
Faith  and  faithfulness  are  nearer  akin  than  so,  and  we  must  trust 
Christ  if  we  mean  to  be  true  to  him.  We  have  sincerity  enough  in 
the  promise,  and  fidelity  enough  in  the  thing  promised. 

Secondly,  Love  to  the  brethren  is  the  next  thing  to  be  opened:  'That 
ye  love  one  another,  as  he  gave  commandment.' 

1.  There  must  be  an  internal  affection.  He  doth  not  only  press  us 
to  do  good  to  one  another,  but  to  love  one  another.  A  real  love  there 
must  be,  otherwise  the  most  glorious  actions  are  insignificant  as  to  our 
acceptance  with  God :  1  Cor.  xiii.  1-3.  A  sincere  love  there  must  be 
to  them  for  God's  sake,  for  the  goodness  he  hath  endued  them  with,  and 
for  the  service  they  may  do  him,  or  the  relation  they  have  to  him  as 
creatures  or  children ;  not  for  our  own  sakes,  to  barter  courtesies  with 
them.  A  selfish  man  can  faithfully  love  none  but  himself,  for  he 
loveth  all  others  for  himself. 

2.  The  persons ;  we  must  '  love  one  another.'  We  are  to  love  all 
things  with  respect  to  God,  his  natural  image  in  all  his  creatures,  and 
his  moral  and  spiritual  image  in  his  children.  There  is  a  love  to  every 
oi^e  without  exception  to  whom  there  is  an  opportunity  offered  of  doing 
them  good.  When  the  wounded  man  was  passed  by  by  the  priest  and 
Levite,  the  Samaritan  performed  the  office  of  a  neighbour ;  and  Christ 
biddeth  us  go  and  do  likewise,  Luke  x.  36,  37.  But  because  love  to 
our  neighbour  supposeth  love  to  God,  and  floweth  from  it  as  a  stream 
from  a  fountain,  therefore  chiefly  to  the  children  of  God  :  1  John  v.  1, 
'  Every  one  that  loveth  him  that  begat  loveth  him  also  that  is  begotten 
of  liim.  By  this  we  know  we  love  the  children  of  God,  when  we  love 
God  and  keep  his  commandments  ; '  1  John  iv.  21,  '  This  command- 
ment we  have  from  him,  that  he  that  loveth  God,  lovetli  his  brother 
also.'  We  ought  not  to  live  to  ourselves  only,  but  for  the  benefit  of 
one  another,  especially  of  our  fellow-christians. 

3.  For  the  manner  of  exercising  this  love,  it  must  be  in  a  self-deny- 
ing way ;  it  is  a  Christ-like  love,  not  only  as  we  should  love  ourselves, 
but  as  Christ  hath  loved  us  ;  that  is,  to  seek  their  benefit  with  our  own 
loss.  In  two  things  Christ  showed  his  self-denial — in  washing  his 
disciples'  feet,  and  dying  for  sinners.  By  the  first  he  taught  us  that, 
if  we  may  be  serviceable  to  one  another,  we  should  stoop  to  the 
meanest  offices,  John  xiii.  3,  4.  Surely  this  is  more  binding  upon  us 
who  are  all  mutual  servants  to  one  another,  as  being  fellow-members 

216  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  HI,         [SeR.  XXX. 

of  one  body,  1  Cor.  xii.  25,  26  ;  therefore  we  ought  to  employ  our- 
selves in  all  the  duties  of  love  to  our  neighbour,  though  never  so  mean 
and  never  so  laborious.  The  apostle  speaketh  of  the  labour  of  love, 
Heb.  vi.  10.  Though  it  be  laborious  and  irksome  to  the  flesh,  yet  the 
will  and  love  of  God  must  sweeten  it.  The  apostle  saith,  Gal.  v.  13, 
14,  '  By  love  serve  one  another,  for  all  the  law  is  fulfilled  in  one  word, 
Thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbour  as  thyself.'  Love  will  make  us  stoop 
to  the  meanest  duties,  to  the  meanest  persons.  The  other  example  is 
in  dying  for  sinners  ;  so  ought  we  to  love  the  brethren  at  the  dearest 
rates:  1  John  iii.  16,  'Hereby  perceive  we  the  love  of  God,  because 
he  laid  down  his  life  for  us,  and  we  ought  to  lay  down  our  lives  for  the 
brethren.'  To  prefer  their  good  before  our  conveniencies  and  natural 
desires,  especially  where  their  spiritual  good  and  the  glory  of  God  is 
concerned  ;  but  alas  !  few  know  how  to  prefer  God's  glory  and  their 
neighbour's  good  before  the  fulfilling  their  own  fleshly  lusts. 

4.  The  fruits  of  this  love  are  usually  seen  in  giving  and  forgiving ; 
giving  or  parting  with  our  estates  for  their  relief:  this  I  largely  pleaded, 
verse  the  17th  ;  and  it  is  elsewhere  pleaded  from  Christ's  example  :  2 
Cor.  viii.  9,  '  Ye  know  the  grace  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  that  though 
he  was  rich,  yet  for  your  sakes  he  became  poor,  that  through  his  poverty 
you  might  be  made  rich.'  And  he  telletli  them  that  this  he  said  to 
prove  the  sincerity  of  their  love  ;  if  love  be  hearty,  it  will  discover 
itself  this  way.  So  in  forgiving,  Eph.  iv.  32,  '  Forgiving  one  another, 
as  God  for  Christ's  sake  hath  forgiven  you.'  God  hath  forgiven  greater 
miscarriages  and  disingenuities.  Mat.  xviii.;  therefore  we  must  forgive 
with  a  readiness  to  do  all  duties  of  love  and  kindness  to  those  that  have 
done  the  wrong  ;  yea,  none  of  us  are  so  free  from  infirmities  but  that 
we  need  forgiveness  ourselves,  not  only  from  God  but  men. 

II.  How  these  are  conjoined,  faith  in  Christ,  and  love  to  the  brethren. 
And  here,  first,  Of  the  connection,  secondly.  Of  the  order. 

First,  The  connection.  There  is  another  sum  and  abridgment  of 
the  commandments  given  by  Christ :  Mat.  xxii.  36,  37,  '  Master,  which 
is  the  great  commandment  in  the  law  ?  Jesus  said  unto  him,  Thou 
shalt  love  the  Lord  thy  God  with  all  thy  heart,  and  with  all  thy  soul, 
and  with  all  thy  mind.'  Other  things  are  mentioned  by  another 
apostle :  Acts  xx.  21,  '  Testifying  both  to  the  Jews,  and  also  to  the 
Greeks,  repentance  towards  God,  and  faith  in  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.' 
All  have  their  use,  for  they  speak  accommodately  to  their  purpose ; 
Christ  of  the  sum  of  the  law  given  by  Moses,  Paul  of  the  sum  of  evan- 
gelical doctrine  or  covenant,  John  with  respect  to  the  purpose  of  his 
exhortation  :  he  might  have  reduced  the  sum  of  the  gospel  to  one  head, 
faith  in  Christ ;  yet  for  more  distinct  explication's  sake  includeth  love 
also ;  and  this  not  without  good  reason,  for  these  things  are  often 
coupled  in  scripture:  Col.  i.  4,  '  Since  we  heard  of  your  faith  in  Jesus 
Christ,  and  the  love  which  you  have  to  all  the  saints.'  So  Eph.  i.  15, 
'  After  I  heard  of  your  faith  in  the  Lord  Jesus,  and  love  to  all  the  saints ; ' 
2  Thes.  i.  3,  '  Your  faith  groweth  exceedingly,  and  your  love  towards 
each  other  aboundeth.'  But  above  all,  2  Tim.  i.  3,  'Hold  fast  the 
form  of  sound  words  which  thou  hast  heard  of  me,  in  faith  and  love, 
which  is  in  Christ  Jesus.'  Now  this  connection  must  be  always 

VeR.  23.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  217 

1.  With  respect  to  our  own  personal  safety  and  the  good  of  the 
church.  Faith  relateth  more  to  our  personal  benefit:  justification, 
Eom.  V.  1,  '  Being  justified  by  faith;'  sanctification,  Acts  xv.  9, 
'  Purifying  their  hearts  by  faith  ;'  salvation,  1  Peter  i.  9,  '  Receiving 
the  end  of  your  faith,  the  salvation  of  your  souls.'  Love  to  the 
good  of  others,  that  we  may  have  a  tender  care  of  the  duty,  honour, 
and  prosperity  of  Christ's  church.  We  are  to  build  up  ourselves  in 
our  most  holy  faith  ;  and  we  are  also  to  love  and  edify  the  body,  which 
is  by  love,  and  that  which  every  joint  supplieth,  Eph.  iv.  16.  Surely 
their  welfare  should  be  regarded  as  your  own.  Love  is  called  by  the 
apostle.  Col.  iii.  14,  '  The  bond  of  perfection.'  Love  is  the  tie  and  bond 
which  knitteth  all  the  members  of  the  church  together,  that  their 
several  gifts  and  graces  may  be  employed  for  the  public,  whereas  other- 
wise they  serve  for  mutual  prejudice.  Without  love  we  should,  as  a 
besom  unbound,  fall  to  pieces ;  there  would  be  no  peace  and  safety, 
but  only  malice  and  reviling,  and  that  too  often  mingled  with  our 

2.  This  connection  is  necessary,  that  grace  may  be  found  saving 
and  sincere ;  for  faith  without  love  is  dead,  James  ii.  17  ;  and  love 
without  faith  is  no  saving  grace,  but  a  natural  inclination,  but  a  little 
good  nature :  so  that  faith  and  love  are  in  a  manner  the  rivals' of  a 
christian,  without  which  he  cannot  walk  ;  and  if  any  one  be  wanting, 
the  other  is  dead  and  withered. 

Second,  For  the  order,  first  faith,  then  love  ;  for  faith  produceth  love, 
and  the  cause  is  before  the  effect.  Faith  apprehending  the  love  of  God 
in  Christ,  inflameth  the  heart  in  love  to  God  again  ;  and  then  we  keep 
his  commandments,  and  love  other  things  for  God's  sake,  Gal.  v.  6. 
When  faith  hath  kindled  in  our  souls  love  to  God,  then  we  love  God 
above  all,  we  shall  love  God  in  all,  and  that  most  which  hath  most  of 
God.  Surely  if  you  love  God  as  God,  it  will  teach  you  to  love  the 
brethren ;  the  example  of  God's  love  in  Christ  will  make  some  im- 
pression upon  you,  and  you  will  love  all  that  belongeth  to  God  in  the 

Use  1.  To  reprove  those  that  do  little  regard  the  planting,  growth,  or 
exercise  of  faith  and  love  ;  you  are  not  truly  subject  to  God  if  you 
decline  any  of  his  commandments,  much  more  if  you  neglect  the  great 
commandments  of  faith  and  love. 

1.  By  many  faith  is  little  minded,  believing  in  Christ  is  a  mystical 
truth.  Moral  obedience  is  evident  by  natural  light ;  for  the  law  was 
written  on  the  hearts  of  men,  Rom.  ii.  14,  as  well  as  in  the  book  of 
God.  Things  seen  by  a  double  medium  are  greater.  We  are  not 
sensible  of  the  evil  of  unbelief,  as  we  are  of  immoralities  ;  but  now 
the  gospel  is  confirmed  by  the  Spirit,  it  is  a  great  sin  :  John  xvi.  9, 
'  Of  sin,  because  they  believe  not  on  me  ; '  and  a  dangerous  sin :  Mark 
xvi.  16,  'He  that  believeth  not  shall  be  damned;'  John  iii.  18,  19, 
'  He  that  believeth  on  him  is  not  condemned,  but  he  that  believeth 
not  is  condemned  already,  because  he  hath  not  believed  in  the  name 
of  the  only-begotten  Son  of  God.  And  tiiis  is  the  condemnation,  that 
light  is  come  into  the  world,  and  men  love  darkness  rather  than  light, 
because  their  deeds  are  evil.'  A  double  condemnation  ;  we  are  under 
condemnation  already ;  the  sentence  of  the  law  is  not  reversed  till  we 

1  Qu.  '  limbs  '  ? — Ed. 

218  SERMONS  uroN  1  JOHN  HI.  [Ser.  XXX. 

believe  in  Christ,  it  is  ratified  in  the  gospel  court  if  we  refuse  the 
remedy.  Now  Christ  is  come  into  the  workl,  sufficiently  revealed  to 
he  Lord  and  Saviour  by  the  gospel,  confirmed  by  miracles  ;  there- 
fore, this  is  a  business  of  greater  necessity  than  is  usually  minded  or 
thought  of. 

2.  And  so  love  to  the  brethren  is  very  rare :  many  are  quite 
strangers  to  it,  the  best  are  very  imperfect  in  it ;  witness  the  cruelties 
and  frauds  that  are  practised  in  the  world,  and  the  un mercifulness 
that  christians  use  one  to  another  upon  all  occasions.  Alas  !  we  that 
should  be  plentiful  in  doing  good  to  one  another,  can  hardly  live  quietly 
one  by  another  ;  we  that  should  pardon  injuries,  offer  them,  and  instead 
of  turning  the  other  cheek  to  the  smiter,  we  smite  ourselves,  as  if  we 
did  bid  defiance  to  all  Christ's  laws  and  counsels.  We  live  as  if  he 
commanded  us  to  be  treacherous,  envious,  hurtful,  designing  others' 
ruin  and  destruction,  and  forbidding  us  to  be  tender-hearted,  com- 
passionate, ready  to  help  and  to  do  good  to  one  another ;  as  if  love 
were  too  much  recommended  to  us,  and  were  known  better  by  slan- 
dering, reviling,  and  backbiting,  rather  than  by  tenderness  of  each 
other's  welfare  and  reputation;  as  if  Christ  had  said.  By  this  shall  all 
men  know  that  ye  are  my  disciples,  not  because  you  love,  but  because 
ye  hate  one  another. 

Use  2.  To  exhort  us  to  be  tender  of  this  double  commandment. 

1.  Believing  in  the  name  of  the  Son  of  God  ;  charge  it  on  yourselves 
as  your  work  when  you  are  sinning.  This  is  none  of  my  business  or 
work.  The  work  of  God  is  to  believe  in  him  whom  he  hath  sent ; 
that  we  should  recover  out  of  sin  by  Christ,  and  abandon  it  more  and 
more,  not  live  in  the  practice  of  it.  When  you  are  hunting  after  the 
world,  or  indulging  carnal  pleasures,  this  is  not  your  work.  God  and 
heaven  are  the  great  objects  faith  is  conversant  about,  and  Christ  is  the 
means  to  bring  me  thither ;  nay,  other  duties  are  not  the  commandment, 
for  without  faith  all  is  nothing ;  for  in  vain  do  men  busy  themselves  about 
particulardutieswhen  they  neglect  the  main,  Heb.  xi.  6.  This,  if  sincere, 
draweth  other  things  along  with  it ;  faith  is  the  first  stone  in  the  spiri- 
tual building,  2  Peter  i.  5,  6  ;  faith  is  at  the  bottom  of  all :  he  that  is 
to  entertain  a  king  will  make  reckoning  of  his  train.  All  the  privileges 
depend  on  this,  pardoned,  sanctified,  Acts  xxvi.  18  ;  glorified,  John  iii. 
16  ;  communion  with  Christ,  Eph.  iii.  17.  All  blessings,  Mat.  xv.  28. 
God  is  at  liberty  to  do  for  us  what  we  desire ;  otherwise  tied  up  by 
his  own  methods  and  instituted  order  :  Mark  vi.  5,  '  And  he  could  do 
no  mighty  work  there  because  of  their  unbelief.' 

Let  it  be  your  constant  work,  1  John  v.  13.  No  men  believe  so 
much  but  they  may  believe  more ;  and  the  more  you  grow  in  faith 
the  more  you  please  God  and  honour  him  :  Kom.  iv.  20,  '  Being  strong 
in  faith,  giving  glory  to  God.'  And  have  more  comfort  in  ourselves  : 
Kom.  XV.  13,  '  The  God  of  hope  fill  you  with  all  peace  and  joy  in 
believing.'  The  more  you  believe,  the  more  you  know  you  do  believe, 
and  the  more  will  God  own  your  faith  :  John  i.  50,  '  Believest  thou  ? 
thou  shalt  see  greater  things  than  these."  Weakness  of  faith  is  pun- 
ished as  well  as  total  unbelief:  Num.  xx.  12,  'Because  ye  believed 
not  to  sanctify  me  in  the  eyes  of  the  children  of  Israel,  therefore  ye 

YeR.  24.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  219 

shall  not  bring  the  congregation  into  the  land  which  I  have  given 

2.  For  love.  We  should  grow  in  love  as  well  as  faith  ;  he  that 
maketh  conscience  of  the  one  will  make  conscience  of  the  other  also  ; 
both  are  recommended  by  the  same  authority  ;  the  one  is  a  necessary 
effect  of  the  other.  Can  a  man  have  a  due  sense  of  God's  love,  and 
not  love  what  belonsieth  to  God  ? 


And  he  that  keepeth  his  commandments  dioelleth  in  him,  and  he  in 
him :  and  hereby  know  lue  that  he  ahideth  in  us,  by  his  Spirit 
zvhich  he  hath  given  to  us. — 1  John  iii.  24. 

Here  is  the  further  happiness  of  those  that  make  conscience  of  an 
entire  and  uniform  obedience  to  God's  holy  will — (1.)  Access  to  God 
in  prayer  ;  (2.)  Success,  ver.  22 ;  (3.)  Constant  communion  with  God. 

In  the  words,  first,  we  have  an  excellent  privilege,  '  And  he  that 
keepeth  his  commandments  dwelleth  in  him,  and  he  in  him.' 

Secondly,  The  proof,  fruit,  and  evidence  of  it,  '  And  hereby  know 
we  that  he  abidetli  in  us,  by  his  Spirit  which  he  hath  given  to  us.' 

1.  The  privilege,  '  Dwelleth  in  him,  and  he  in  him.'  Dwelling 
noteth  the  continued  presence  and  influence  of  Christ. 

2.  Tlie  proof  hereby :  God  is  where  his  Spirit  is.  Mark,  he  doth 
not  prove  the  former,  our  dwelling  in  God,  for  that  is  our  duty  as  well 
as  our  privilege,  but  his  dwelling  in  us,  that  needeth  most  to  be  con- 
firmed :  and  in  proving  that  he  proveth  both  ;  for  Christ  dwelleth  in 
none  but  those  that  dwell  in  him.  The  first  is  all  we  can  handle  at 

Doct.  A  near,  intimate,  and  constant  conjunction  with  Christ  is  the 
privilege  of  those  who  make  conscience  of  keeping  the  commandments. 

First,  What  is  this  near,  intimate  and  constant  conjunction  with 
Christ?     It  is  expressed  here  by  a  mutual  inhabitation. 

1.  Dwelling  noteth  nearness  and  intimacy ;  it  is  not  dwelling  by  one 
another,  but  dwelling  in  one  another :  '  You  in  me,  and  I  in  you,' 
John  xiv.  20 ;  which  noteth  presence  and  influence.  So  John  vi.  56, 
'He  that  eateth  my  flesh  and  drinketh  my  blood,  dwelleth  in  me, and 
I  in  him.'  As  meat  is  turned  into  the  eater's  substance,  so  they  and 
Christ  become  one.  Christ  is  present  with  and  in  the  believer,  that 
is,  graciously  present ;  not  in  substance  at  all,  as  man  ;  for  '  the 
lieaven  of  heavens  must  contain  him  till  the  days  of  refreshing  come 
from  the  presence  of  the  Lord,'  Acts  iii.  21.  Nor  in  substance  only 
as  God,  for  so  he  is  everywhere  :  Jer.  xxiii.  24,  '  Do  not  I  fill  heaven 
and  earth  ?  saith  the  Lord.'  But  by  his  gracious  operation  and 
special  influence  upon  them,  whereby  he  conveyeth  life,  strength,  and 
glory  to  them.  Life:  Gal.  ii.  20,  '  I  live,  yet  not  I,  but  Christ  liveth 
in  me ;  and  the  life  that  I  live  in  the  flesh  I  live  by  the  faith  of  the 

220  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXXI. 

Son  of  God ; '  1  John  iv.  4,  '  Greater  is  he  that  is  in  you  than  he  that 
is  in  the  Avorld.'  Glory :  Col.  i.  27,  '  Christ  is  in  you,  the  hope  of 
t^loi-y.'  The  first  gift  we  have  from  God  is  Christ ;  we  partake  of 
him  before  we  partake  of  his  benefits :  1  John  v.  12,  '  He  that  hath 
the  Son  hath  life,  and  he  that  hath  not  the  Son  hath  not  life.'  There- 
fore we  are  most  strictly  united  to  him  as  members  to  the  head, 
whence  they  receive  strength  and  motion  ;  so  do  we  receive  gracious 
influence  as  from  our  head. 

2.  It  is  a  constant  habitual  presence ;  for  dwelling  noteth  continu- 
ance and  perseverance.  Christ  cometh  not  for  a  visit  and  away,  but  it 
noteth  his  abode  and  constant  residence :  he  doth  not  sojourn  only  for 
a  season,  but  take  up  his  abode  in  us :  John  xiv.  23,  '  We  will  take 
up  our  abode  with  him.'  Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Ghost,  those  blessed 
guests  will  dwell  there.  The  Spirit  may  come  upon  the  carnal  by  a 
transient  motion,  move  them  at  times  as  they  have  their  good  moods 
and  fits  ;  but  he  doth  not  act  the  faithful  per  modum  aches  transientis, 
but  per  modum  habitus  permanentis,  by  a  constant  habitual  influence 
or  principle  of  life.  God  hath  put  our  life  into  Christ's  hands : 
'  Because  he  liveth  we  shall  live  also,'  John  xiv.  19.  So  that  we  do 
not  use  him  as  an  instrument  for  a  turn,  which  is  then  laid  by  till  we 
need  it  again ;  or  as  a  pen  to  write,  or  a  knife  to  cut ;  but  we  con- 
stantly live  in  him,  as  the  principle  and  root  of  our  life,  as  branches 
use  the  root,  and  members  the  head,  which  they  live  by,  and  from 
which  when  they  are  severed  they  die  and  wither,  '  When  Christ, 
who  is  our  life,  shall  appear,  we  shall  appear  with  him,'  Col.  iii.  4. 
He  will  convey  life  to  us,  begun  in  grace  here  and  perfected  in  glory. 
This  life  is  maintained  on  his  part  by  a  constant  influence,  on  our 
part  by  a  constant  dependence :  therefore  by  dwelling  in  him  and  he 
in  us  is  intended  not  only  intimacy — that  is  implied  in  the  phrase  '  in 
him' — but  constancy,  in  the  word  '  abide'  or  dwell.  Being  united  to 
Christ,  we  still  cleave  to  him,  and  Ciirist  withdraweth  not  the  Spirit 
from  us. 

3.  It  is  a  mutual  presence;  we  dwell  in  Christ,  and  he  in  us. 
This  must  be  heeded  and  regarded  for  two  reasons — 

[1.]  Because  our  abiding  in  him  is  the  way  to  have  him  abide  in 
us,  and  so  the  communion  is  mutual :  John  xv.  4,  '  Abide  in  me  and 
I  in  you.'  One  clause  is  the  exhortation,  the  other  the  promise.  No 
man  hath  any  dwelling  in  Christ,  but  Christ  hath  first  his  dwelling  in 
him  ;  he  first  cometh  into  our  hearts,  and  then  giveth  us  place  in  his 
heart  also  :  we  must  take  the  course',  use  the  means,  whereby  he  may 
abide  in  us. 

[2.]  Because  there  is  no  danger  the  union  will  break  on  Christ's 
part :  if  we  abide  in  him,  he  will  not  fail  to  abide  in  us.  His  gracious 
presence  is  secured  by  his  love  and  promise  ;  all  the  danger  is  of 
breaking  on  our  part ;  and  therefore  we  must  be  quickened  and 
exhorted  to  abide  in  him  :  and  as  by  other  motives,  so  by  the  danger 
of  apostasy,  not  only  that  we  may  evidence  the  reality  of  our  union 
with  him,  but  that  we  may  keep  the  bonds  entire  and  unbroken.  So 
doth  our  Lord  testify,  John  xv.  6,  '  If  any  man  abide  not  in  me,  he  is 
cast  forth  as  a  branch,  and  is  withered,  and  men  cast  them  into  the  fire 
and  they  are  burned.'     Now  should  we  be  wiser  than  Christ,  who 

VeR.  24.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  221 

minded  his  own  disciples  of  the  danger  of  apostasy,  and  the  dreadful 
wrath  following  upon  it,  to  make  them  afraid  of  defection  ?  For  this 
is  one  means  which  God  useth  to  contain  and  keep  the  elect  within 
the  bounds  of  their  duty  ;  and  therefore  they  must  not  be  smoothed 
up  with  persuasions  of  their  immutable  standing,  but  be  warned  of 
the  inseparable  connection  between  apostasy  from  the  known  truth 
and  way  of  godliness,  and  the  dreadful  wrath  and  displeasure  of  God 
on  supposition  they  do  so.  Suppositiones  nihil  ponunt  in  esse.  Such 
suppositions  do  not  shake  the  foundation  of  God,  but  confirm  our  con- 
stant adherence  to  him. 

4.  It  is  an  eximious  and  excellent  privilege  ;  for  here  it  is  not  pro- 
pounded by  Avay  of  exhortation,  but  motive ;  not  enforced  as  a  duty, 
but  asserted  as  the  reward  of  a  duty,  that  if  we  be  tender  of  breaking 
God's  laws,  he  abideth  in  us  and  we  in  him :  and  so  it  is  in  other 
])laces  :  John  xiv.  23,  '  If  any  one  keep  my  commandments,  my  Father 
will  love  him,  and  we  will  come  to  him,  and  make  our  abode  with 
him.'  It  is  our  great  work  to  love  God,  and  our  great  happiness  to  be 
beloved  of  him ;  therefore  the  greatest  expression  of  his  love  is  to 
dwell  in  us,  and  fix  his  residence  in  our  hearts.  This  Christ  pro- 
miseth  to  his  disciples,  as  knowing  they  will  prize  it,  how  contemptibly 
soever  the  world  thinketh  of  it ;  and  we  should  also  prize  and  value 
this  above  other  favours.  Take  either  part  for  our  dwelling  in  God, 
to  have  a  lodging  in  the  heart  of  God,  and  then  God  in  us ;  he  will 
dwell  in  us  in  these  houses  of  clay  before  we  come  to  dwell  with  him 
in  his  palace  of  glory.  It  is  surely  the  greatest  happiness  that  can 
befall  man  in  this  world,  and  accordingly  it  should  be  valued. 

5.  This  strict  union  and  conjunction  is  begun  by  the  Spirit,  but  con- 
tinued by  faith,  love,  and  obedience.  It  is  begun  in  us  by  his  Spirit ; 
for  Christ  maketh  his  first  entry  into  believers  wholly  by  the  Spirit : 
1  Cor.  vi.  17,  '  He  that  is  joined  to  the  Lord  is  one  spirit.'  As  in  the 
matrimonial  bond,  they  who  are  joined  together  are  one  flesh,  so  in 
this  mystical  union  one  spirit ;  not  only  to  show  its  spiritual  nature, 
])ut  its  author.  It  is  done  by  the  Spirit  uniting  us  to  Christ,  and  by 
Christ  to  God  :  1  Cor.  xii.  13,  '  We  are  by  one  spirit  baptized  into  one 
body,  and  we  are  made  to  drink  into  one  spirit.'  Our  first  insition  or 
implantation  into  Christ  is  represented  by  baptism,  as  our  nutrition 
and  growth  by  the  Lord's  supper ;  and  there  it  is  said  to  be  done  by 
the  Spirit;  as  bees  first  build  their  cells,  and  then  dwell  in  them. 
But  then  it  is  continued  by  faith,  love,  and  obedience :  Eph.  iii.  17, 
'  That  Christ  may  dwell  in  your  hearts  by  faith.'  It  is  by  his  dwelling 
in  us  by  his  Spirit  that  we  receive  his  influence  and  assistance  ;  and 
then  it  is  manifest  to  us  by  love  :  1  John  iv.  16,  '  We  have  known  and 
believed  the  love  which  God  hath  to  us.  God  is  love,  and  he  that 
dwelleth  in  love  dwelleth  in  God,  and  God  in  lym.'  When  the  heart 
is  moulded  and  framed  to  love  God,  upon  the  apprehension  of  his  great 
and  wonderful  love  in  our  redemption,  God  dwelleth  in  us  and  we  in 
God.  And  John  xv.  9,  10,  'As  the  Father  hath  loved  me,  so  I  have 
loved  you  ;  continue  ye  in  my  love  :  if  ye  keep  my  commandments,  ye 
shall  al)i(le  in  my  love,  even  as  I  have  kept  my  Father's  commandments, 
and  abide  in  his  love.'  If  they  would  maintain  the  exercise  of  their 
love  to  God^  and  the  sense  of  his  love  to  them,  they  should  obey  liim. 

222  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXXI. 

And  then,  for  obedience,  it  is  plainly  asserted  in  the  text;  and  again, 
1  John  i,  7,  '  If  ye  walk  in  the  light,  as  he  is  in  the  light,  we  liave 
fellowship  one  with  another.'  Surely  the  more  we  fulfil  his  will,  the 
more  God  delighteth  in  us,  and  to  communicate  his  grace  to  us ;  our 
state  of  sin  was  a  state  of  enmity  to  God,  but  the  state  of  holiness  and 
obedience  to  him  is  our  state  of  conjunction  and  agreement  with  him, 
which  is  perfect  when  our  holiness  is  perfect. 

6.  Tiie  effect  of  this  strict  union,  conjunction,  and  presence  is  spiri- 
tual influence,  or  the  assistance  of  his  Spirit,  on  Christ's  part ;  on  our 
part,  holiness  and  fruitful  obedience.  Hence  we  have  his  Spirit  to 
guide  us :  Kora.  viii.  14,  '  As  many  as  are  led  by  the  Spirit.'  To 
quicken  us,  '  For  the  Spirit  that  dwelleth  in  us  is  life,'  Kom.  viii.  10. 
To  strengthen  us  to  perform  duties':  Eph.  iii.  16,  '  To  be  strengthened 
with  might  by  his  Spirit  in  the  inner  man ; '  Heb.  xiii.  21,  '  Working 
in  us  what  is  pleasing  in  his  sight,'  and  helping  us  to  fulfil  his  will. 
For  bearing  of  burdens  :  Phil.  iv.  16,  '  I  can  do  all  things  through 
Christ  that  strengtheneth  me.'  So  that  they  are  continually  acted, 
excited,  and  strengthened  by  God.  On  our  part  tlie  effect  is  holiness 
and  fruitful  obedience ;  before  we  made  it  a  means  of  this  conjunction, 
now  we  make  it  the  fruit  and  effect  of  it,  for  it  is  both.  It  is  enforced 
by  two  arguments  :  John  xv.  4,  5,  '  Abide  in  me  and  I  in  you :  as  the 
branch  cannot  bear  fruit  of  itself  except  it  abide  in  the  vine,  no  more 
can  you  except  ye  abide  in  me.  I  am  the  vine,  ye  are  the  branches  : 
he  that  abideth  in  me  and  I  in  him,  the  same  bringeth  forth  much 
fruit ;  for  without  me  ye  can  do  nothing.'  Where  there  are  two  things 
asserted — First,  That  without  his  dwelling  in  us,  and  we  in  him,  we  can 
be  no  more  fruitful  than  a  branch  which  is  broken  off  from  the  vine  ; 
no  communion,  no  fruitfulness :  he  cannot  do  anything  acceptable  to 
God  ;  not  only  nihil  magnum,  no  great  thing,  but  nihil  prorsum, 
nothing  at  all.  As  we  cannot  do  the  greatest  and  most  difficult  things, 
so  not  the  least  thing,  if  broken  off  from  Christ.  Secondly,  That  if  we 
still  dwell  and  abide  in  him,  we  shall  abound  in  fruit ;  he  is  able  and 
willing  to  supply  all  our  wants,  and  make  us  ready  for  every  good 

7.  Though  Christ  do  familiarly  communicate  himself  to  all  believers, 
so  as  to  dwell  in  them  by  his  gracious  presence,  yet  not  to  all  alike, 
but  to  some  in  a'larger  measure  and  proportion  than  to  others,  as  he 
worketh  more  or  more  effectually  on  them  than  he  doth  on  others. 
We  all  receive  of  his  fulness,  John  i.  16,  but  all  according  to  our  capa- 
city and  degree  of  receptivity  :  Eph.-  iv.  7, '  To  every  one  of  us  is  given 
grace  according  to  the  measure  of  the  gift  of  Christ'  All  have  the 
same  saving  graces  for  substance :  2  Peter  i.  1,  '  To  them  that  have 
obtained  like  precious  faith  with  us.'  But  for  the  degree,  every  one 
hath  his  peculiar  measures,  some  are  babes,  some  young  men,  and  some 
fathers,  1  John  ii.  13.  Visible  professors  have  common  gifts,  and  there 
is  variety  ;  but  all  real  members  have  saving  gifts  in  such  a  measure 
as  Christ  judgeth  sufficient  and  most  convenient.  In  the  degrees  there 
is  much  of  his  sovereignty  seen,  yea,  and  also  of  his  justice  sometimes, 
when,  being  provoked  by  sin  and  our  unkind  dealing,  he  doth  withhold 
a  great  measure  of  that  gracious  influence  which  at  other  times  he 
vouchsafeth  more  plentifully.     There  is  an  influence  necessary  to  the 

VeR.  24.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  223 

well-being,  and  to  the  being  of  grace.  First,  Necessary  to  the  well- 
being,  flourishing,  and  vigorous  acting  of  grace  in  the  heart.  So  the 
spouse  complainetli  that  her  beloved  had  withdrawn  himself,  and  was 
gone,  after  she  had  been  lazy  and  negligent,  Cant.  v.  6  ;  yet  some  influ- 
ence of  his  grace  still  remained,  for  she  opened  to  him,  and  he  was  gone. 
Secondly,  There  is  an  influence  Avhicli  is  necessary  to  the  being  of  grace, 
and  without  which  grace  would  utterly  die  and  perish.  David  telletli 
US  that  his  feet  were  almost  gone,  and  his  steps  had  well-nigh  slipped, 
Ps.  Ixxiii.  2.  But  what  kept  him  ?  He  telleth  us  that,ver.  23, '  Never- 
theless I  am  continually  with  thee  ;  thou  hast  holden  me  by  thy  right 
hand.'  He  was  upon  the  brink  of  a  precipice,  ready  to  cast  off  or 
question  a  main  article  of  faith  or  point  of  religion  ;  but  God  kept  him, 
and  powerfully  sustained  and  supported  him  from  being  overcome  with 
that  temptation.  He  doth  not  forsake  us  when  many  times  we  are 
ready  to  forsake  him,  but  by  his  power  doth  secretly  withhold  us  and 
keep  us  fast  to  himself.  Nay,  necessary  vital  grace  may  be  greatly 
wounded  and  weakened,  and  heinous  sins  may  make  such  fearful  havoc 
in  the  soul,  and  God  manifest  his  displeasure  by  withdrawing  the 
Spirit  in  such  a  degi'ee,  that  they  cannot  tell  whether  they  have  any- 
thing of  it  or  no :  Ps.  li.  11,  'Cast  me  not  away  from  thy  presence, 
neither  take  thy  Holy  Spirit  from  me.'  They  are  not  utterly  cast  off 
from  God,  nor  bereft  of  saving  grace,  yet  they  have  lost  the  sensible 
communion  of  the  Spirit,  both  in  a  way  of  comfort  and  grace  ;  they  see 
this  is  their  desert,  and  that  God  is  provoked  ;  and  it  is  terrible  to  them 
to  be  excluded  from  the  actual  sense  of  God's  favour,  and  therefore 
deprecate  this  as  their  saddest  loss. 

8.  The  general  rule  is,  that  the  strictly  obedient  have  a  gi'eater  degree 
of  his  indwelling  presence  than  others  have.  In  scripture  sometimes 
God  is  said  to  dwell  with  the  contrite :  Isa.  Ivii.  15,  '  I  dwell  in  the 
high  and  holy  place,  with  him  also  tliat  is  of  a  contrite  and  humble 
spirit.'  He  dwelleth  in  the  highest  heaven,  and  he  dwelleth  in  the 
humblest  heart ;  they  most  need  him  ;  and  he  hath  work  there  to  do, 
to  comfort  them  in  their  serious  remorse  for  sin.  Sometimes  with  the 
trusting  soul :  Ps.  xci.  1,  '  He  that  dwelleth  in  the  secret  place  of  the 
Most  High  shall  abide  under  the  shadow  of  the  Almighty.'  He  that 
dwells  in  God  shall  dwell  in  God ;  i.e.,  he  that  adhereth  to  God,  and 
expecteth  his  safety  from  God's  protection,  shall  not  miss  of  what  he 
seeketh  :  God  will  be  with  him,  as  he  is  always  with  God.  But  these 
are  but  branches  of  holiness  and  obedience  ;  generally  the  privilege  is 
restrained  to  the  pure  and  holy :  '  With  the  pure  thou  wilt  show  thy- 
self pure.'  He  that  keepeth  himself  pure  from  sin,  God  will  not  leave 
any  degi'ee  of  godliness  in  him  unrewarded  ;  and  this  is  one  of  his 
rewards,  to  vouchsafe  them  his  gracious  presence  and  influence  ;  they 
have  not  only  his  sanctifying,  but  his  comforting  presence.  His  sanc- 
tifying presence,  for  as  he  doth  punish  sin  with  sin,  so  he  doth  reward 
grace  with  grace,  with  a  further  increase  of  what  they  seek  after.  His 
comforting  presence:  John  xv.  11, '  These  things  have  I  spoken  to  you, 
that  my  joy  may  remain  in  you,  and  your  joy  may  be  full.'  What 
things  were  those  ?  concerning  abiding  in  him,  in  faith  and  love, 
and  fruitfulness  in  obedience ;  he  speaketh  of  his  joy  and  their 
joy ;  he  causeth  it,  they  felt  it,  or  the  comfort  they  had  in  his  bodily 

224  '  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  [SeR.  XXXL 

presence,  and  which  should  afterward  be  excited  in  them  by  the  Holy 

Secondly,  Why  it  is  a  privilege  proper  to  them  that  keep  his  com- 
mandments, for  the  clause  is  exclusive  of  others. 

1.  Because  this  is  God's  instituted  order.  Now  all  God's  institutions 
carry  a  condecency  to  his  nature.  God  is  holy,  and  requireth  holiness, 
and  delights  in  holiness,  and  therefore  vouchsafeth  his  intimate  presence 
with  them  that  are  holy,  as  the  reward  of  their  fidelity  and  obedience 
to  him  :  Ps.  xi.  7, '  The  righteous  God  loveth  righteousness,  his  counte- 
nance doth  behold  the  upright.'  God's  heart  is  toward  the  holy  and 
the  righteous,  they  are  most  amiable  in  his  sight,  and  he  puts  most  of 
the  marks  of  his  favour  upon  them,  and  such  marks  as  they  most  value 
and  esteem,  which  is  his  comfortable  and  holy  presence.  The  same  is 
true  of  Christ,  for  the  name  and  nature  of  God  is  in  him :  1  John  ii. 
6,  '  He  that  saith  he  abideth  in  him,  ought  also  to  walk  even  as  he 
walked.'  If  we  would  have  Christ  dwell  in  us,  we  must  imitate  him 
in  obedience  to  God. 

2.  Communion  presupposeth  union,  and  union  agreement :  Amos 
iii.  3,  '  How  can  two  walk  together  except  they  be  agreed  ?  '  If  not 
walk  together,  not  dwell  together,  not  dwell  one  in  another.  What 
concord  and  agreement  between  Clnist  and  Belial,  between  a  holy 
God  and  Saviour  and  the  workers  of  iniquity  ?  There  is  none,  there 
can  be  none :  2  Cor.  vi.  16,  it  is  enforced  out  of  this,  '  I  will  walk  in 
them,  and  I  will  dwell  in  them  ; '  that  excludeth  all  that  is  unsuitable. 

3.  The  end  and  fruit  of  tliis  union,  which  is  that  we  may  live  unto 
God,  and  bring  forth  fruit  unto  God  ;  that  is  the  end  of  the  spiritual 
marriage,  which  is  one  notion  by  which  this  near  conjunction  is  set 
forth  :  Rom.  vii.  4,  '  That  ye  should  be  married  to  another,  even 
to  him  that  is  raised  from  the  dead,  that  we  should  bring  forth  fruit 
unto  God.'  It  is  the  end  of  the  spiritual  engrafting  ;  John  xv.  1,  2, 
'  I  am  the  true  vine,  and  my  Father  is  the  husbandman  :  every  branch 
in  me  that  beareth  not  fi'uit,  he  taketh  away  ;  and  every  branch  that 
beareth  fruit,  he  purgeth  it,that  it  may  bring  forth  more  fruit.'  This 
is  another  notion  used ;  the  members  receive  influence  from  the  head 
for  motion,  a  free  intercourse  of  blood  and  spirits,  that  every  part  may 
do  its  offices.  Now  if  we  would  keep  the  commandments,  and  live 
unto  God,  and  bring  forth  fruit  unto  God,  this  would  not  be  in  vain : 
Christ  hath  works  to  be  done  by  us,  as  well  as  comfort  to  bestow 
upon  us. 

4.  One  part  of  this  privilege  would  contradict  the  other ;  it  is  a 
mutual  inhabitation  spoken  of,  '  I  in  him,  and  he  in  me.'  Now  many 
would  have  Christ  to  dwell  in  them  when  they  are  not  in  him  but 
against  him.  Our  being  in  him  imports  duty  as  well  as  privilege,  that 
we  should  be  for  him,  our  hearts  set  upon  him  and  his  glory  ;  he  is  in 
us  by  his  Spirit,  and  we  are  in  him  by  faith  and  love,  both  which 
produce  new  obedience :  Gal.  v.  6,  '  For  in  Christ  Jesus  neither 
circumcision  availeth  any  thing,  nor  uncircumcision,  but  faith,  which 
woiketh  by  love.' 

5.  Wherever  Christ  is,  he  will  be  as  Lord  and  sovereign  ;  he  will  rule 
where  he  dwelleth,  and  dwell  alone :  Col.  ii.  6,  '  As  ye  have  received 
Christ  Jesus  theLord,so  walk  in  him.'   He  ruleth  in  us  as  Lord,  therefore 

VeR.  24.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  HI.  225 

lie  must  be  obeyed,  his  commandments  kept.  Many  times  in  travel- 
ling, when  we  see  a  great  house  we  ask  who  dwelleth  here,  meaning 
the  master  of  the  family,  not  the  ,servants,  the  scullions,  but  the  owner 
and  governor  of  the  house ;  so  where  Christ  dwelleth  he  will  be  chief. 
We  intend  it  in  saying,  He  dwelleth  here.  When  men  cool  and 
decline  in  their  affections  to  him,  when  they  take  in  another  inmate 
and  indweller,  whose  interest  shall  command  the  interest  of  Christ,  and 
whom  they  are  more  ready  to  serve  and  obey,  this  is  to  discharge 
Christ,  not  to  suffer  Jesus  Christ  any  longer  to  dwell  in  them. 

6.  This  near,  intimate,  and  constant  conjunction  with  Christ  doth 
necessarily  beget  a  likeness  to  him  :  2  Cor.  v.  17,  '  If  any  man  be  in 
Christ,  he  is  a  new  creature ;  old  things  are  passed  away,  behold  all  things 
are  become  new.'  And  according  to  our  pattern  they  are  ci'eated  anew  ; 
Christ  is  formed  in  them.  Gal.  iv.  19.  The  stamp  of  Christ  is  left 
upon  them.  So  John  i.  16  ;  some  expound  tliat '  grace  for  grace,'  for 
each  gi'ace  in  Christ  there  is  the  like  and  answerable  grace  in  the 
heart  of  a  believer.  As  in  the  wax  there  is  word  for  word,  letter  for 
letter,  syllable  for  syllable,  answerable  to  what  was  in  the  seal ;  or  in 
the  body  of  a  child  there  is  limb  for  limb,  part  for  part,  answerable 
to  the  parents ;  so  in  us  and  Chi'ist  there  is  patience  for  patience, 
humility  for  humility,  obedience  for  obedience.  Now  this  doth  neces- 
sarily infer  holiness,  or  keeping  the  commandments. 

Use  1.  Is  information. 

1.  That  they  do  in  vain  boast  of  communion  with  God  who  do  not 
keep  his  commandments.  It  was  a  cheat  usually  among  the  heathens 
to  pretend  secrecy  with  their  gods,  and  human  nature  is  the  same 
still  :  many  usurp  this  high  honour  of  communion  with  God,  but  no 
fruit  of  it  appeareth.  Now  Christ  abhorreth  all  pretences  of  commu- 
nion with  him,  which  do  not  appear  in  the  effects  :  1  John  ii.  4,  '  He 
that  saith,  I  know  him,  and  keepeth  not  his  commandments,  is  a  liar.' 
'  I  know  him,'  is  there  put  for,  I  enjoy  him,  or  I  am  in  him  ;  for  in  the 
next  verse  it  is  explained,  '  Hereby  we  know  that  we  are  in  him.' 
And  the  Holy  Ghost  pronounceth  there  that  'he  is  a  liar  !'  A  lie  is 
more  than  a  falsehood,  it  is  a  falsehood  with  intention  to  deceive.  The 
gross  hypocrite,  that  liveth  in  secret  wickedness,  that  contents  himself 
only  with  a  plausible  appearance,  intendeth  to  deceive  others,  as  if  he 
were  in  Christ  when  he  is  not ;  but  the  more  refined  hypocrite,  that 
lives  in  partial  obedience,  doth  deceive  himself.  If  the  communion 
with  Christ  were  real,  it  would  discover  itself,  and  the  fruit  of  the 
►Spirit  would  be  '  all  goodness,  righteousness,  and  truth,'  Eph.  v.  D.  It 
cannot  be  otherwise  while  he  abideth  in  you  by  his  Spirit,  and  you 
abide  in  him  by  faith  and  love. 

2.  That  those  who  have  tasted  the  good  of  communion  with  God 
need  often  to  be  exhorted  and  encouraged  to  continue  in  it.  I  observe 
this,  because  many  are  possessed  with  this  thought,  that  union  with 
Christ  will  do  its  own  business  ;  and  they  expect  the  fruits  of  it,  but 
do  nothing  to  keep  this  union  being  a  real  union.  Nomine  non 
cogitante  ;  they  think  though  man  had  no  thought  or  apprehension  of 
it,  and  contributeth  nothing  in  the  way  of  duty  to  receive  the  fruits 
of  it,  yet  it  will  preserve  him  and  keep  liim  :  but  this  is  an  abuse,  for 
we  are  to  be  in  him  as  well  as  he  in  us  ;  and  the  care  of  preserving  it, 

VOL.  XXI.  p 


ihoiigli  it  lieth  mainly  on  Christ,  and  the  grace  cometh  from  Christ,  yet 
it  is  our  duty,  and  we  need  often  to  be  quickened  to  it,  for  these  reasons — 

[1.]  Because  of  dulness,  hiziness,  and  backwardness  to  those  duties 
which  maintain  this  communion.  Christ  abideth  in  us  by  constant 
influence  and  quickening  virtue  ;  but  there  are  duties  required  on  our 
part  of  faith,  love,  and  new  obedience.  As  there  is  a  constant  influence 
on  his  part,  so  there  must  be  a  constant  adherence  on  ours.  We  are 
to  '  cleave  to  him  with  full  purpose  of  heart,'  Acts  xi.  23.  And  by 
constant  endeavour  seek  to  please  him,  and  frequently  draw  nigh  to 
him  in  holy  services,  as  the  scripture  everywhere  showeth ;  but  we 
are  idle  and  apt  to  neglect  our  duty. 

[2.]  Because  of  our  averseness  to  self-denial,  and  dependence  by 
reason  of  that  security  and  selfishness  which  is  very  natural  to  us, 
especially  if  we  have  received  anything  by  way  of  ability  and  power 
to  do  that  which  is  good.  Man  is  a  proud  creature,  and  would  fain 
be  sufficient  to  himself,  live  of  himself,  and  do  all  things  by  himself ; 
though  Christ  telleth  us,  '  Without  me  ye  can  do  nothing.'  The  sense 
of  our  impotency  and  emptiness  is  troublesome  and  humbling ;  there- 
fore we  need  often  to  quicken  you  to  be  nothing  in  yourselves,  and  all  in 
Christ,  who  still  giveth  and  continueth  all  that  we  have  or  can  do  for 
God.  This  dependence  begetteth  observance,  Phil.  ii.  12,  13  ;  1  Cor. 
XV.  10,  '  Not  I,  but  the  grace  of  God  which  was  with  me.'  We 
being  but  inferior  agents  and  instruments  under  him,  though  voluntary 
and  obedient  instruments,  by  our  own  strength,  and  without  the  grace 
of  Christ,  we  are  not  sufficient  to  begin  or  finish  any  christian  duties  ; 
it  is  not  we  that  live,  but  Christ  that  liveth  in  us,  and  bi'eatheth  upon 
us  by  fresh  and  continual  inspirations.  Peter  was  confident  of  the 
sincerity  of  his  own  resolutions,  but  he  was  not  sensible  of  his  weak- 
ness ;  now  this  must  often  be  revived  upon  us,  that  we  may  entirely 
depend  upon  God. 

[3.]  We  are  often  hotly  assaulted  with  temptations  after  our  hearts 
are  set  for  God  and  heaven.  God  may  permit  us  to  be  exercised  with 
sharp  trials,  and  buffeted  very  sorely ;  therefore  we  need  quicken  you 
to  abide  in  him.  Do  not  run  away  from  your  defence  and  strength  ; 
do  not  think  that  Christ  will  cast  you  off.  Now  is  the  time  to  show 
he  is  in  you,  Rom.  viii.  39. 

[4.]  We  may  run  into  sins  which  endanger  a  forfeiture ;  therefore 
we  need  often  to  be  put  in  lemembrance  of  abiding  in  Christ,  that  we 
may  not  wrest  ourselves  out  of  the  arms  of  mercy. 

3.  It  informeth  us  how  dangerous  it  is  to  injure  and  wrong  them 
that  fear  God  and  keep  his  commandments ;  they  are  in  Christ,  and 
Christ  is  in  them  ;  he  taketh  the  injuries  as  done  to  himself:  Acts  ix. 
4,  '  Saul,  Saul,  why  persecutest  thou  me  ? '  You  do  wrong  to  the 
Lord  Jesus  when  you  hate  what  of  Christ  is  in  them  :  Isa.  xxxvii.  28, 
'  But  I  know  thy  abode,  and  thy  going  out  and  coming  in,  and  thy  rage 
against  me,'  saith  God  to  Sennacherib.  Benefits  done  to  us  are  taken 
as  done  to  him,  Mat.  xxv.  So  injuries,  Christ  taketh  them  as  done  to 

Use  2.  Is  to  persuade  us  to  keep  his  commandments.  I  shall  press 
this — (1.)  From  the  excellency  of  the  privilege;  (2.)  The  necessity  of 

VeR.  24.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  227 

1.  The  excellency  of  the  privilege;  this  deservetli  our  choicest  en- 

[1.]  Consider  what  an  obliging  act  of  condescension  it  is  on  God's 
part  to  dwell  in  us.  Could  we  liave  used  these  expressions  if  God 
had  not  used  them  before  us  ?  '  But  will  God  in  very  deed  dwell  with 
men  on  earth  ?  '  was  the  wonder  of  one  of  the  wisest  men  on  earth,  2 
Chron.  vi.  18.  But  more  to  dwell  in  us  and  walk  in  us,  1  Cor.  vi.  16  ; 
to  dwell  in  the  hearts  of  such  poor  vile  creatures  as  we  are.  What 
base  and  unclean  guests  lodge  within  us  naturally  ;  but  what  a  blessed 
thing  is  it  to  have  God  dwell  in  us  and  we  in  him  ! 

[2.]  Consider  how  much  the  people  of  God  value  his  external  pre- 
sence :  Exod.  xxxiii.  15,  'If  thy  presence  go  not  with  us,  carry  us  not 
up  hence.'  But  now  Christ  is  not  only  with  us,  but  in  us,  2  Cor.  v.  3. 
It  is  that  which  bringeth  us  nearer  to  God,  and  fits  us  to  receive  more 
from  him.  Temporal  blessinirs,  Eom.  viii.  32  ;  all  spiritual  blessings, 
1  Cor.  i.  30  ;  eternal,  John  xvii.  23,  24. 

2.  The  necessity  of  obedience ;  it  is  not  only  profitable  for  more 
ample  communion,  but  necessary,  the  union  else  is  but  pretended;  it 
cannot  be  continued,  but  is  interrupted  and  broken  off.  Now  when 
God  hath  made  a  difference  between  you  and  others,  will  you  seek  to 
unmake  it  again  ?    He  cometh  to  dwell  in  you  to  make  you  holy. 


And  ice  knoio  that  he  abidetli  m  us,hy  his  Spirit,  lohich  he  hath 
given  us. — 1  John  iii.  24. 

DocT.  That  God's  dwelling  and  abiding  in  us  is  known  by  the  Spirit 
given  to  us. 

It  is  not  said  merely  that  he  abidetli  in  us  by  his  Spirit,  but  '  Hereby 
we  know  that  he  abidetli  in  us, by  his  Spirit,  which  he  hath  given  to  us.' 
Christ  is  where  his  Spirit  is.  It  is  a  sure  sign  to  us  that  he  hath  not 
forsaken  us,  but  still  continueth  united  to  us. 

Let  us  inquire — (1.)  What  is  meant  by  the  Spirit  given  to  us  ;  (2.) 
Why  this  is  a  sure  evidence ;  (3.)  How  this  Spirit  worketh. 

I.  What  is  meant  by  the  Spirit  given  to  us.  By  the  Spirit  is  meant 
the  person  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  or  some  created  gift,  called  the  divine 
nature,  or  new  creature.  The  word  signifieth  both.  Sometimes  it  is 
taken  for  the  Holy  Ghost  himself:  Mat.  xxviii.  19,  'Baptizing  them 
in  the  name  of  the  Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Ghost.'  Sometimes  for  tlie 
gifts  and  graces  of  the  Spirit:  John  iii.  6,  '  And  that  which  is  born  of 
the  Spirit  is  spirit.'  That  divine  nature  which  is  begotten  or  born  in 
us  of  and  by  the  S[)irit  is  called  spirit  also,  and  both  given  to  us :  Rom. 
v.  5,  'The  love  of  God  is  slied  abroad  in  our  hearts  by  the  Holy  Ghost, 
which  is  given  unto  us.'  The  latter  is  siipposed  to  be  spoken  of  1 
John  iv.  13,  'Hereby  we  know  that  we  dwell  in  him,  and  he  in  us, 


because  lie  hath  given  us  of  liis  spirit ; '  bestowed  a  gracious  charitable 
temper  upon  us,  for  that  temper  which  was  in  Christ  is  in  us  also ; 
for  those  words  follow  this  clause  ;  if  we  love  one  another,  God  dwelleth 
in  us,  and  his  love  is  perfected  in  us.  Now  it  mattereth  not  much 
whether  we  interpret  it  of  the  one  or  the  other,  for  we  have  both  the 
fruit  and  the  tree,  the  fountain  and  the  stream.  The  one  cannot  be 
without  the  other,  nor  the  graces  without  the  Spirit,  for  they  are  of  his 
production  ;  nor  can  the  Spirit  be  said  to  dwell  in  any  without  respect 
to  these  graces,  for  the  Spirit  dwelleth  where  he  worketh ;  and  his 
dwelling  in  the  souls  of  believers  is  his  working  there  in  such  a  peculiar 
manner  as  is  not  common  to  all  men  ;  a  familiar  and  continued  working, 
such  as  produceth  life,  and  likeness  to  Christ  in  righteousness  and  holi- 
ness, which  is  the  same  with  gracious  habits  or  the  new  nature,  which 
is  the  more  immediate  principle  of  man's  actions ;  and  the  Spirit  of 
God  produceth  and  worketh  all  that  good  which  we  do  by  the  media- 
tion of  the  new  frame  of  heart  which  he  hath  raised  in  us.  Yet  I  chiefly 
understand  the  text  of  the  Spirit  of  sanctification,  by  whom  being  re- 
generated we  live  unto  God,  for  these  reasons — 

1.  Because  it  is  brought  as  a  proof  of  that  part  of  the  privilege,  his 
abiding  in  us.  The  privilege  is  mutual  and  reciprocal  ;  we  abide  in 
liim  and  he  in  us.  Now  he  doth  not  prove  the  former,  but  the  latter  ; 
the  soul  dwelleth  where  it  delighteth,  but  God  dwelleth  where  he  work- 
eth by  his  Spirit,  which  is  the  cause  of  this  intimate  and  immediate 
presence,  which  is  here  expressed,  not  by  cohabitation,  but  by  inhabit- 
ation ;  and  so  the  meaning  is,  the  constant  operations  of  the  Holy  Spirit 
dwelling  and  working  in  you  show  that  Christ  hath  not  forsaken  us, 
but  taken  up  his  abode  in  our  hearts. 

2.  Because  this  is  the  great  fruit  of  God's  love,  and  reward  of  our 
obedience  :  John  xiv.  23,  '  If  any  man  love  me,  and  keep  my  command- 
ments, my  Father  will  love  him,  and  we  will  come  to  him,  and  make 
our  abode  with  him.'  '  We,'  that  is,  all  the  persons  of  the  blessed 
Trinity ;  not  the  Father  and  the  Son  only,  but  the  Holy  Spirit,  who 
doth  constantly  and  by  his  habitual  effects  abide  in  the  hearts  of  the 
faithful,  and  thereby  evidenceth  God's  love  to  them :  John  xiv.  17, 
Christ  speaking  of  the  Spirit  of  truth,  saith,  '  Ye  know  him,  for  lie 
dwelleth  with  you,  and  shall  be  in  you.' 

3.  This  Spirit  is  more  discernible  by  us  by  his  motions  and  powerful 
influence,  and  the  ways  which  he  hath  to  manifest  himself ;  and  so 
more  proper  to  discover  and  make  known  the  dwelling  of  God  in  us 
than  the  bare  habits  of  grace,  especially  both  together  than  the  latter 
singly  and  alone.  Indeed,  one  way  by  which  he  doth  discover  his 
sanctifying  presence  is  by  that  habitual  bent  of  heart  towards  God 
which  we  call  the  new  nature,  and  the  fruits  and  works  of  it.  When 
we  find  the  frame  of  our  hearts  changed  for  the  better,  and  if  we  act 
accordingly,  we  may  conclude  it ;  but  that  which  maketh  all  evident 
is  his  continual  presence  and  powerful  influence,  by  which  we  are  acted 
and  quickened  ;  for  as  the  apostle  saith,  '  By  the  Spirit  of  God  we  know 
the  things  which  are  freely  given  us  of  God,'  1  Cor.  ii.  12,  both  in  the 
gospel  and  in  our  own  hearts. 

4.  The  Holy  Ghost  is  said  to  dwell  in  believers  as  his  temple: 
1  Cor.  iii,  16,  '  Know  ye  not  that  ye  are  the  temple  of  God,  and  that  the 

v''eR.  24.]  SERMONS  UPON  1  JOHN  III.  229 

Spirit  of  God  dwelleth  in  you  ? '  1  Cor.  vi.  19,  '  Know  ye  not  that  your 
body  is  the  temple  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  which  is  in  you  ? '  So  that  the 
Spirit  himself  abideth  in  believers ;  and  not  only  grace  from  the  Spirit. 
but  he  is  present  in  the  soul  as  Christ's  agent  to  convey  light,  life,  and 
love  to  us ;  and  not  as  a  distant  agent,  but  as  the  immediate  exciter  of 
all  that  grace  that  is  in  us.  There  is  his  power  and  presence,  as  in  his 
temple  and  proper  place  of  residence ;  he  first  builds  up  his  temple, 
and  then  dwelleth  in  it. 

II.  Why  this  is  a  sure,  rich,  full,  and  pregnant  evidence  of  God's 
dwelling  in  us. 

1.  Because  the  coming  down  of  the  Holy  Ghost  upon  Christ  was  the 
evidence  of  God's  love  to  him,  and  the  visible  demonstration  of  his 
filiation  and  sonship  to  the  world  :  John  iii.  34,  '  The  Father  loved  the 
Son,  and  gave  him  the  Spirit  without  measure.'  Now  Christ  prayed, 
John  xvii.  26,  '  That  the  love  wherewith  thou  hast  loved  me  may  be 
in  them,  and  I  in  them.'  Before  he  had  said,  ver.  23,  '  That  the  world 
may  know  that  thou  hast  loved  them,  as  thou  hast  loved  me.'  None 
will  think  in  degree,  therefore  in  kind,  that  God  manifests  his  love  to 
us  the  same  way  which  he  did  to  him,  and  that  is  by  the  gift  of  the 
Holy  Spirit,  or  his  filiation.  John  knew  Christ  to  be  the  Son  of  God 
by  the  Spirit  descending  and  abiding  on  him :  John  i.  32,  '  I,  John,  bare 
record,  saying,  I  saw  the  Spirit  descending  from  heaven  like  a  dove, 
and  it  abode  upon  him.'  Yea,  God  himself  declared  this  to  be  a  visible 
demonstration  of  his  sonship,  Mat.  iii.  17.  So  do  we  know  ourselves 
to  be  the  children  of  God,  by  the  Spirit's  inhabitation  and  sanctifying 
work  upon  our  souls. 

2.  The  pouring  out  of  the  Spirit  was  the  visible  evidence  given  to 
the  church  of  the  valuableness  and  acceptation  of  Christ's  satisfaction 
for  us,  to  set  afoot  the  gospel  covenant.  When  God  was  reconciled  and 
pacified,  then  he  shed  forth  the  Spirit :  Acts  ii.  33,  '  Therefore  being 
by  the  right  hand  of  God  exalted,  and  having  received  of  the  Father 
the  promise  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  he  hath  shed  forth  this  which  ye  now 
see  and  hear.'  So  John  vii.  38,  39,  '  He  that  believeth  on  me,  as  the 
scripture  hath  said,  out  of  his  belly  shall  flow  rivers  of  living  water. 
But  this  he  spake  of  the  Spirit,  which  they  that  believe  on  him  should 
receive  ;  for  the  Holy  Ghost  was  not  yet  given,  because  that  Jesus  was 
not  yet  glorified.'  Now  this  is  true  of  God's  reconciliation  to  us  in 
particular :  when  pacified  towards  us,  he  giveth  the  Spirit ;  because 
the  part  followeth  the  reason  of  the  whole  :  Kom.  v.  11,  '  And  not  only 
so,  but  we  also  joy  in  God  through  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  by  whom 
we  have  now  received  the  atonement.'  There  is  the  atonement  made, 
and  the  atonement  received;  they  are  both  evidenced  the  same  way, by 
this  fountain  of  living  waters,  which  is  given  to  all  believers  :  John 
iv.  14,  '  But  whosoever  shall  drink  of  the  water  that  I  shall  give  him 
siiall  never  thirst;  but  the  water  which  I  shall  give  him  shall  be  in 
him  a  well  of  water  springing  up  to  everlasting  life.'  And  all  the  good 
God  worketh  in  us,  he  worketh  as  a  God  of  peace  reconciled  to  us  by 

3.  Because  it  was  the  first  witness  of  the  truth  of  the  gospel,  and 
therefore  tiie  best  pledge  we  can  have  of  the  love  of  God  in  our  hearts; 
for  believers  are  confirmed  the  same  way  which  the  gospel  is  confirmed ; 


tliat  which  confirmeth  Christianity  confirmeth  the  christian,  the  reality 
of  our  interest ;  as  the  extract  and  original  charter  have  value  from  the 
same  attestation  or  stamp  and  seal :  Acts  v.  32,  '  And  we  are  witnesses 
of  these  things,  and  so  is  the  Holy  Ghost.'  And  the  wonders  wrought 
by  the  Spirit :  Heb.  ii.  4,  '  God  also  bearing  them  witness,  both  with 
signs  and  wonders,  and  with  divers  miracles,  and  gifts  of  the  Holy 
Ghost.'  This  was  extraordinary,  therefore  the  christian  needeth  not 
to  have  his  Christianity  confirmed  by  miracles,  but  by  the  sanctifying 
Spirit :  John  xvii.  17,  '  Sanctify  them  through  thy  truth  ;  thy  word  is 
truth.'  This  the  believer  must  have :  1  John  v.  10,  '  He  that  believeth 
on  the  Son  of  God  hath  the  witness  in  himself ; '  the  Spirit  comforting 
the  conscience  by  the  blood  of  Christ,  and  sanctifying  and  cleansing 
the  heart  as  with  pure  water,  ver.  8.  This  is  our  evidence  that  we 
are  true  christians :  so  the  testimony  of  Christ  is  confirmed  in  us. 

4.  It  is  proper  to  the  matter  in  hand,  union  and  communion  with 

[1.]  Consider  the  privilege  itself,  the  nature  of  this  union  with 
Christ,  the  object,  the  author  and  continual  preserver  :  2  Cor.  xiii.  14, 
'  The  grace  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  the  love  of  God,  and  the 
communion  of  the  Holy  Ghost.'  Communion  is  imputed  to  the  Holy 
Ghost,  as  love  to  God,  and  grace  to  Christ  :  1  Cor.  vi.  17,  '  He  that  is 
joined  to  the  Lord  is  one  spirit.'  As  a  man  and  a  harlot  are  one  flesh, 
so  we  are  one  spirit,  because  it  is  not  a  communion  of  bodies,  but  spirits. 
There  is  the  same  spirit  in  head  and  members ;  therefore  the  apostle 
concludeth,  Kom.  viii.  9, '  Now  if  any  man  have  not  the  Spirit  of  Christ, 
he  is  none  of  his ; '  is  not  grafted  as  a  living  member  into  Christ's 
mystical  body. 

[2.]  For  the  bands  of  this  union,  faith  and  love  and  new  obedience, 
they  are  all  wrought  in  us,  and  stirred  up  in  us  by  the  Spirit. 

(1.)  Faith,  it  is  the  Spirit  which  giveth  faith  :  Gal.  v.  5,  '  For  we 
through  the  Spirit  wait  for  the  hope  of  righteousness  by  faith.'  It  is 
he  that  doth  internally  enlighten  our  minds,  and  incline  our  hearts  to 
embrace  the  gospel  covenant,  and  Christ  revealed  in  it.  All  that 
faith  which  we  have  is  the  gift  of  God,  Eph.  ii.  8  ;  and  God  worketh  by 
his  Spirit,  '  who  openeth  the  eyes  of  our  mind,  that  we  may  believe 
and  receive  the  gospel,'  Eph.  i.  17,  18. 

(2.)  For  love,  it  is  his  production  also,  for  love  is  of  God,  1  John 
iv.  7,  that  is,  wrought  in  us  by  the  efficacy  of  his  Spirit.  The  great 
design  of  the  gospel  is  to  reveal  the  love  of  God,  and  thereby  to  recover 
our  love  to  God,  that  we  may  love  him  again,  who  hath  loved  us  first, 
1  John  iv.  19.  Now  the  bare  revelation  of  this  love  in  the  word  will 
not  do  it,  unless  it  be  shed  abroad  in  our  hearts  by  the  Spirit  given  to 
us,  Rom.  v.  5.  Therefore,  as  the  Spirit  of  light,  he  worketh  faith ;  as  a 
Spirit  of  love,  he  worketh  love